Three Michigan State basketball players raped woman in 2015, lawsuit claims

Phillip Cunningham
April 11, 2018

According to a lawsuit filed Monday, the players told the woman that her roommate was to meet them for a party there.

Guests enter the Spartan Engagement Center in the Demmer Family Pavilion on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 during a tour of the new North End Zone Complex renovations at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on the Michigan State Campus.

Michigan State has suffered tremendous damage to its reputation in recent months as the Larry Nassar case grabbed the headlines after it came to light that the sports doctor had abused over 140 students during his tenure. Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, members of that 2015 team, were among the names that surfaced in the ESPN report. She eventually withdrew from the school before re-enrolling in January, 2016.

Michigan State University officials could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

On the evening of April 11, 2015, the student and her roommate were at a bar in East Lansing when members of the basketball team walked in, the suit alleges. Because of her interest in sports journalism, she accepted. Shortly after midnight on April 12, a drove of the men's basketball team arrived at Harper's, including JD1, JD2 and JD3. After accepting, the plaintiff was introduced to the other players and invited to their apartment for a party.

She accepted a auto ride to the party from two players to what turned out to be one of their apartments.

The lawsuit says the woman was having a hard time holding her glass, though she said she did not have a lot to drink. "She tried to send a phone text, but she could not control her thumbs to formulate a text", the lawsuit states. She began to wonder if she might have been drugged. She also claims she asked for water and was given some because she was thirsty at the time. Jane Doe was also anxious that if she reported to police she could be cited with underage drinking charges, as she had used a fake ID to enter the East Lansing bar where she encountered the players.

"Plaintiff was drinking the water when the room went dark", the lawsuit details. According to the suit she was thrown on the bed face down, pinned and then raped. The woman was crying and could not speak, her lawsuit claims, and she did not consent to the activity.

Soon after, another basketball player offered to show the woman his basketball memorabilia, according to the lawsuit, and took her into a bedroom. The young woman blacked out and woke up on a couch in the apartment hours later.

In fall 2015, she stopped going to class.

Almost a year later the woman resumed classes at MSU, but to date her attorney claims that the university has done nothing. The three players, who are also not named in the lawsuit, are no longer at the school.

"The MSUCC staff made it clear to Plaintiff that if she chose to notify the police, she faced an uphill battle that would create anxiety and unwanted media attention and publicity as had happened with many other female students who were sexually assaulted by well-known athletes".

After an initial assessment, the plaintiff told her counselor the perpetrators were basketball players, which allegedly led to an immediate demeanor change and an unidentified staffer to be brought into the room. The MSUCC staff allegedly did not advise the alleged victim to seek STD or pregnancy testing, physical exam or medical treatment. She never learned of her right to ask for a no-contact order to keep the three men away from her dorm, according to the lawsuit.

The victim has claimed that she made a decision to come forward and take action because she did not want another girl in Michigan State to go through what she had to go through and have her life messed up. They had returned from playing in the NCAA tournament, according to the lawsuit, having lost to Duke University in the Final Four.

The lawsuit claims that the student has suffered severe emotional trauma due to the incident and has withdrawn from classes as well as changed her major.

"I feel that they have such a big future, they have a lot of promise that these students are handled, or these students are treated with some sort of privilege".

The woman said her roommate didn't know anything about the alleged party and had been looking for the victim but couldn't find her, the lawsuit says. As such, attorney Karen Truszkowski alleged in the suit, the school did not provide her client with equal protection under the law.

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