EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Prosecutors say they've received warrant requests from police at Michigan State University in a sexual assault investigation that has led to the suspension of three football players from team activities.
The Ingham County prosecutor's office says it expects police at the East Lansing school to provide more evidence in the case Thursday. Prosecutors anticipate making a decision on charges "in the short-term future."
Names of the players haven't been released. The school disclosed the case last week, saying that as part of the criminal investigation detectives were interviewing members of the coaching staff and other relevant people following a complaint made in January.
The players also were removed from on-campus housing. A staff member associated with the football program also was suspended. Curtis Blackwell was suspended Wednesday with pay, the university announced. Blackwell has been the team's director of college advancement and performance. The team's website says he focuses on leadership, graduation and career objectives. He's also involved in recruiting.
Blackwell coached high school football at Detroit King and Detroit Mackenzie from 2003 to 2007.
On February 9th, Michigan State University released a statement saying it is investigating the allegations:
“Michigan State University Police is investigating allegations of sexual assault against three MSU student-athletes. The police department has been in communication with the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office, and upon concluding the investigations will forward its reports for review for possible criminal charges.
The university also is conducting a Title IX investigation of the sexual assault allegations. Title IX consultant Rebecca Veidlinger has been retained to conduct this investigation, which will address whether MSU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy was violated. She will report her findings to the Office of Institutional Equity.
The three student-athletes under investigation have been suspended from team activities and removed from on-campus housing pending the conclusion of the police and Title IX investigations.
As part of the criminal investigation, detectives are interviewing members of the coaching staff and other relevant individuals regarding their response since the complaint was made in late January.
Separate from the criminal and Title IX investigations, the university administration is retaining an external law firm to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into football program staff members’ compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations.
MSU will take prompt action, if appropriate, in response to any policy violations or other substantive matters as a result of the investigation. One staff member associated with the football program has been suspended by the Athletics Department pending the completion of that investigation.
Michigan State University has made significant strides in making its Title IX program align with the best practices developed throughout the nation. Sexual violence is abhorrent, and no member of our community should be threatened in this way. MSU has been proactive in education and prevention efforts and is strongly committed to fostering an environment that encourages sexual assault reporting and supports victims.
Every employee has a clear responsibility to follow the university’s well-established reporting protocols regarding sexual assault. MSU will not tolerate failure to follow established reporting protocols, interference with law enforcement efforts, or lack of cooperation with any Title IX investigation.”
-Jason Cody, MSU spokesperson
Message from the Athletic Director
“The core values of MSU Athletics are clear, consistently communicated and non-negotiable. Among them are respect for self and others, accountability for actions and choices, and integrity. Sexual assault is unacceptable, and members of MSU Athletics who fail to uphold our standards for creating a culture that is safe, supportive, and responsive to those affected by it will be held accountable. My expectation of all members of the department is full and complete cooperation with all investigations.
We have a strong athletics program at MSU, one based on values, traditions, and an understanding that as Spartans we are part of something bigger. Our promise to current and future student-athletes and to the entire Spartan community is to take the steps necessary, based on the facts determined through thorough review, to run this program according to the highest values and standards.”
-Athletic Director Mark Hollis