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Former Michigan State basketball player Travis Walton denies assault allegations

Walton accused of assaulting woman in ESPN report released last week


LANSING, Mich. – Former Michigan State University basketball player Travis Walton is denying allegations of assault that came out in an ESPN report detailing alleged sexual abuse at MSU last week.

The ESPN report detailed an alleged incident in which a woman accused Walton of attacking her in an East Lansing bar. He was also accused in another abuse case, and eventually fired as Tom Izzo's assistant for the Spartans.

Walton released the following statement Tuesday:

"Over the last several days, allegations have been made about me during my tenure at Michigan State University. In this case, the facts are:

  • I was never hired or fired by Michigan State University. In January of 2010, I was enrolled at Michigan State University, taking the necessary classes to complete my degree. Upon graduation, I returned to Europe to continue my basketball career.
  • I never physically assaulted a woman at an East Lansing establishment, as alleged. While conversing with her, and without notice or provocation, she threw a drink at me, and I subsequently left the establishment. Two written statements from independent, objective witnesses were given to the City Attorney, and support my innocence. Ultimately, the determination to resolve the case was based on the merits of the investigation.
  • I have never been charged with sexual assault and, to my knowledge, the alleged sexual assault was never reported to Michigan State University or the police. My encounters with this woman were more than just a single occasion, and my actions with her were always consensual.

I stand by these facts, and will defend myself to the extent that the law allows.

I apologize for the negative attention this has brought my Spartan family, the Clippers organization, and my family and friends."

More on the ESPN report

In the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal, Michigan State University is under the microscope.

Related: Mark Dantonio denies ESPN's accusations about how sexual assault cases were handled

This week saw the resignations of the university president and athletic director - but it seems its only the beginning.

Related: Tom Izzo says he'll cooperate in any sexual assault investigations

ESPN's Outside the Lines published a report on Friday, detailing new information about what they called "a culture of sexual assault" inside the men's basketball and football programs. Here's some of the report:

Even MSU's most-recognizable figures, football coach Mark Dantonio and basketball coach Tom Izzo, have had incidents involving their programs, Outside the Lines has found.

Since Dantonio's tenure began in 2007, at least 16 MSU football players have been accused of sexual assault or violence against women, according to interviews and public records obtained by Outside the Lines. Even more, Dantonio was said to be involved in handling the discipline in at least one of the cases several years ago. As recently as June, Dantonio faced a crowd of reporters who were asking questions about four of his football players who had been accused of sexual assault. Six questions in, a reporter asked Dantonio how he had handled such allegations previously.

"This is new ground for us," Dantonio answered. "We've been here 11 years -- it has not happened previously."

Outside the Lines also has obtained never-before-publicized reports of sexual or violent incidents involving members of Izzo's storied basketball program, including one report made against a former undergraduate student-assistant coach who was allowed to continue coaching after he had been criminally charged for punching a female MSU student in the face at a bar in 2010. A few months later, after the Spartans qualified for the 2010 Final Four, the same assistant coach was accused of sexually assaulting a different female student.

The report detailed at least six cases of either physical or sexual assault involving MSU football players that were not previously known:

The previously unreported cases that Outside the Lines discovered include three reports of physical violence and three reported sexual assaults by football players. Each was investigated by campus police.

ESPN also reported about Walton, who was accused of misdemeanor assault and battery.

An East Lansing Police Department report includes statements from two witnesses who confirmed Thompson's account. Two days later, officers issued an arrest warrant for Walton for misdemeanor assault and battery. Walton pleaded not guilty at his arraignment on Feb. 23, 2010, and the presiding judge ruled that he was "OK to travel with the MSU basketball team" while his case was pending.

On April 21, 2010, almost three weeks after the Spartans lost to Butler in the Final Four, Walton's assault and battery case was dismissed, and he instead pleaded guilty to a civil infraction for littering.

Read the full Outside the Lines report here.


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