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Michigan State Discouraged Reporting of Rape Allegation Against Athletes, Woman Says

Category: Other Sports,Sports

Also last winter, ESPN reported several previously undisclosed sexual misconduct allegations against members of Michigan State’s football and men’s basketball programs. In several instances, ESPN said, the accusations were handled by the athletics program, rather than the venues mandated by federal law.

“There’s a lot that they have yet to take accountability for, as far as what’s going on in the athletic department and the systematic errors that are allowing the athletic department to be put above females that have been victims of sexual assault by athletes,” Ms. Kowalski said.

The lawsuit states that the sexual assault occurred in April 2015 after an informal celebration at an East Lansing bar for the basketball team, which had recently returned from the Final Four in Indianapolis, where it lost to eventual champion Duke in the national semifinals. (Ms. Kowalski, days away from turning 19, said she used fake identification to enter the bar.)

Ms. Kowalski’s roommate encouraged her to approach the players.

“I knew their stats, numbers, everything,” Ms. Kowalski said, adding, “She knew how I looked up to those guys.”

A team member invited Ms. Kowalski to his place for a party, and she accepted a drive to an off-campus apartment, the lawsuit said. When she arrived, there was no one else there, and Ms. Kowalski, who had already had trouble holding her glass at the bar despite not drinking much, had trouble controlling her thumbs to send a text, the lawsuit said.

The three players took turns raping her, the lawsuit said. She woke up later in the apartment and took a taxi back to her dorm.

Ms. Kowalski visited the Michigan State University Counseling Center roughly a week later, she said. The counselor she met with appeared to change her response to Ms. Kowalski upon learning that the men she said had attacked her were members of the basketball team. The counselor immediately insisted on having a second person in the room, the lawsuit said. Ms. Kowalski was not advised to seek a physical exam or pregnancy or S.T.D. testing, and was not made aware of her rights under Title IX.

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