It took nearly five months, and it ended in about a week’s total time, but there is finally a full picture to the ongoing sexual assault investigation involving three Michigan State Spartans football players.
After notifying the press on Monday afternoon that three Michigan State football players would be charged with sexual assault, the warrants were finally issued and the names we’ve all long held on to were released.
Cornerback Josh King is facing the most severe charges of first degree criminal sexual conduct, third degree criminal sexual conduct and capturing a picture of an unclothed person. Meanwhile, fellow 2016 recruiting class members Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance are charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct for the alleged incident on January 16, 2017.
It didn’t take long for Dantonio to make it clear what was going to happen while the three face these criminal charges. He issued the following statement:
Full statement from Mark Dantonio on dismissal of three MSU players. pic.twitter.com/hkycLmXDwo
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) June 6, 2017
The details of the alleged acts are pretty disturbing, but important to understand.
According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, an investigator in the case testified to the following in the hearing for the warrants to be issued:
Michigan State University Police Department Det. Chad Davis testified during a court hearing Tuesday that MSU football player Josh King pulled the alleged victim in a January sexual assault into a bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex before pulling her pants off and having forced vaginal sex with her.
Davis also testified that MSU football players Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance then entered the bathroom and forced the woman to perform oral sex.
Davis said King enticed the woman, who he knew, into the bathroom initially because he wanted to speak to her “somewhere quiet.”
All three players initially denied having contact with the woman, Davis testified.
Curtis Blackwell, who was long thought to be part of the probe in to the alleged sexual assault was fired last week. However, charges against him were declined by the prosecutor’s office in the legal case.
It means closure for the football program, but hardly the same for the alleged victim and everyone else involved in this case. Five months of no easy leaks from the media, players or others involved showed just how serious all of this was taken by all parties.
Naming the alleged attackers without charges would’ve been reckless, as would be assuming they are guilty just because charges have been brought. But, for the business of the rest of the football program it can now come out of the shadows and play in the light of day.
For the teammates who had to hide and shut-up about so much for the past five months a huge weight is being lifted off their shoulders.
MSU also made sure to do its own investigation, done by an outside firm. It showed no hinderance or cover-up of the alleged crime that took place.
As the report stated:
“We also found no evidence that senior leaders within the football program or Athletic Department attempted to impede, cover up, or obstruct the Office of Institutional Equity’s (OIE’s) investigation into the underlying incidents,” the 14-page report reads.
In the end, while the alleged crime is certainly horrific, Michigan State’s athletic department also deserves some credit for showing the college football world how to handle these delicate and serious situations. In the wake of Baylor’s on-going and ugly handling of multiple sexual assault allegations against former players and the national conversation around rape on campus, the Spartans showed how to do things right.
Dantonio and Hollis did right by the players in suspending them and removing them from campus, but not outing them unless charges were filed. They also did the right thing by closing off practice to internal and external media types and controlling what information was going to get out. Finally, the swift action of releasing them from the team made a strong statement both internally and externally.
Michigan State also has done right by the alleged victim in taking the charges serious, removing the players from campus and the football team and letting the Title IX process continue to play itself out. They also were right to share their feelings of empathy towards the alleged victim here.
Of course, this saga won’t have a final chapter just yet. But, after all the speculation over the past few months, this was an important step in moving the process a long ways towards a conclusion for all involved.