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MSU asks judge to dismiss lawsuit filed by woman accusing former basketball players of rape

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jul 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 09:49:25-04

Michigan State University has filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a student who says she was raped by three MSU basketball players, and campus counselors discouraged her from going to police.

The motion, filed Monday in federal court in Grand Rapids, claims the woman failed to prove that MSU violated Title IX rules or that MSU acted with 'deliberate indifference' after the alleged assault.

"Plaintiff’s allegations against John Does 1-3, if true, constitute outrageous, criminal conduct. But while Plaintiff’s assault was tragic, MSU did not cause it," the motion states.

In the lawsuit, the woman claims she was raped by three players at an off campus apartment in April of 2015, after meeting one of them at a bar. She was an 18 year old freshman at the time. The players are not named in the lawsuit.

Nine days later, the woman says she reported the rape to a counselor at the MSU counseling center. The lawsuit states when said her attackers were notable MSU athletes, the staff at the counseling center discouraged her from going to police, saying it could be traumatic and bring unwanted media attention.

In the motion to dismiss, MSU says the claims concerning the school's actions after the alleged assault fail because MSU, as an institution, did not know about it.

"Plaintiff made the report to MSU's Counseling Center and Sexual Assault Program, which are confidential reporting resources with an obligation not to disclose information about plaintiff's assault," the motion states. Lawyers for MSU says schools are liable under Title IX only when a plaintiff reports sexual harassment "to an appropriate university official with authority to address the alleged harassment and institute corrective measures on the institution's behalf."

The motion also states that even if MSU did know of the alleged assault, the woman does not claim she ever asked MSU to take any action it did not take. "She also did not experience any further harassment after the initial assault, so she cannot show that MSU subjected her to harassment," it says.

After the lawsuit was filed in April, MSU issued a statement on it's website that has since been deleted, saying claims made in the lawsuit were untrue, and they hadn't found any evidence to support the school discouraged her from going to police.