(WJBK) - Three former Michigan State University football players were sentenced to probation Wednesday after accepting a plea deal in a sexual assault case.
Joshua King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance had been accused of raping a woman in a bathroom at an on-campus party in January, and recording it on a phone. Police say King forced the woman to perform oral sex and raped her, while filming the incident, then forced her to perform oral sex on Corley and Vance.
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Each player was sentenced to 3 years’ probation, sex offender treatment and therapy. King had pleaded guilty to leading to seduction and surveilling an unclothed person. Prosecutors dropped his first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. Corley and Vance each pleaded guilty to seduction and their third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges were dropped.
The players were suspended in February 2017, then identified in court proceedings in June 2017. King's attorney had said the former player handed over his cell phone that contained videos of the incident and argued they showed the sexual acts were consensual.
A statement was read on the behalf of the victim, detailing the incident through her eyes and how it affected her family.
"Seeing their pain like that - I wish I could make it go away. Life really never goes back to normal after that. Every time I left my dorm my senses were on high alert."
Prior to the sentencing, Vance's lawyer said agreeing to the plea deal was a tough decision for him and his family.
"I'm very sorry for letting people down who believed in me," Vance said.
Corley's lawyer said by all accounts, he was and still is, a "together" person.
"He did something that night that was not thoughtful," he said, calling his actions dramatically immature. "They hurt somebody."
He did say that characterizing the defendants as rapists is not right.
"I do understand the whole situation. I do believe that I didn't do anything wrong as in the rapist part of it but I do understand that we all hurt in this situation. She had to go through a lot of stuff ... I had to go through a lot of stuff," Corley said.
Aquilina asked Corley if he believed three men having sex with one woman is OK. He replied no.
"She wasn't treated as a woman, she was treated as a play thing," Aquilina said.
King said he was sorry for the harm he'd caused, and for being a problem for the school and the team. He addressed the video he sent out of the victim on Snap Chat that he did not have consent to take.
"I understand the actions I did back then were stupid and childish, I understand that I'm very in the wrong for sending out a video of the actions," he said.
"We don’t video tape anybody without their permission and certainly not in that position," Aquilina said.
King was a sophomore defensive end from Illinois and one of the nation's top recruit's when he committed to MSU. He played in nine games in 2016, his freshman year at the program. A four-star recruit from Detroit King, Corley also played as a freshman in 2016 as both wide receiver and corner back, appearing in 12 games. Vance was a four-star recruit from Cass Tech in 2016, and redshirted his first year at MSU.
Football team recruiter Curtis Blackwell has been suspended but has not named or charged in this investigation resulting from a sexual assault complaint filed back in January.
Blackwell had been the team's director of college advancement and performance since 2013. According to MSU Football, his responsibilities included leadership, graduation and career objectives, as well as involvement in recruiting.