3 suspended Michigan State football players to be charged with sexual assault

Players to be charged with sexually assaulting woman in apartment on campus

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Three Michigan State University football players who were suspended from team activities pending a sexual assault investigation are expected to be charged as soon as Wednesday, the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office said.

The three players are accused of sexually assaulting a woman Jan. 16 in an East Lansing apartment on Michigan State's campus.

Officials have not released the names of the players because no warrants have been issued.

The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office also said there will be no charges against a Michigan State football staff member who was released from the program in connection with the incident.

Curtis Blackwell, the director of college advancement and performance, was suspended the same day as the three players in the sexual assault investigation. His contract was not renewed last week.

Investigation into staff's response to sexual assault report

Michigan State released the results of a Jones Day investigation into the football staff's handling of the reported sexual assault incidents.

The investigation found that head coach Mark Dantonio correctly followed procedures outlined in Michigan State University's policy on relationship violence and sexual misconduct. In both instances -- one involving three players who were suspended for a January 2017 incident and the other involving former player Auston Robertson in April 2017 -- Dantonio was told about possible incidents involving players on his team, the report said.

The Jones Day report said Dantonio immediately contacted the school's Office of Institutional Equity and superiors in the athletic department, and didn't try to investigate the incidents on his own. 

The report found that only one staff member violated the school's policy on relationship violence and sexual misconduct by learning about the possible incidents, failing to report them and investigating them on his own. The report also said the staff member talked about the incident with a family member of one of the players involved.

The three players charged in the January incident declined to be interviewed in the investigation on advice from their counsel.

You can read the full Jones Day report by clicking here.

3 players suspended from team activities

Michigan State University officials announced in February that they were investigating allegations of sexual assault against three football players.

The university said police were working with the Ingham County Prosecutor's Office, and after the investigation, they would forward their findings for review for possible charges.

The three players were suspended from team activities and removed from on-campus housing until the end of the investigation, police said.

MSU athletic director Mark Hollis released the following statement:

"The core values of MSU athletics are clear, consistently communicated and non-negotiable. Among them are respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault is unacceptable, and members of MSU athletics who fail to uphold our standards for creating a culture that is safe, supportive and responsive to those affected by it will be held accountable. My expectation of all members of the department is full and complete cooperation with all investigations.

"We have a strong athletics program at MSU, one based on values, traditions and an understanding that as Spartans we are part of something bigger. Our promise to current and future student-athletes and to the entire Spartan community is to take the steps necessary, based on the facts determined through thorough review, to run this program according to the highest values and standards."

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