Michigan messenger: MSU Basketball players accused of sexual assault

Submitted by BillyShears on September 29th, 2010 at 1:07 PM

http://michiganmessenger.com/42253/msu-sexual-assault

 

That is the link. Michigan Messenger is a pretty reputable political site and I don't think they would report this unless they were sure. No names are listed, please refrain from guessing. It goes into some detail so be aware before you click on the link.

Comments

GoBlueinMN

September 29th, 2010 at 1:38 PM ^

Seems quite inappropriate to mock cross-examine the victim during her first meeting. This is something that should not have been done until much later, when the prosecutor was prepping the victim for trial.

Sounds like a situation in which the prosecutor did not think she could "win" the case, so she decided not to proescute, whether she thought a crime occurred or not.

Mitch Cumstein

September 29th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

The article makes it seem like she was the only reason the case didn't move forward.  From the way it made it sound like the victim was treated during their first meeting, its hard for me to believe she has that much power over the decision.  She has been doing it for a long time though, so maybe she just wants to weed out cases she knows will be lost.

Maizeforlife

September 29th, 2010 at 3:59 PM ^

It's not their job to weed out cases they think can't be won.  If someone presses charges, and the police gather evidence that supports those charges, then you go to trial.  You don't try to talk the victim out of pressing charges based on a personal opinion of the strength of the case. 

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 4:00 PM ^

It's pretty standard practice to basically cross-examine a victim before deciding to sign a warrant. Prosecutors have to think in terms of reasonable doubt. It's easy for us to read a report and think "yeah they did it," but when you put your one girl on the stand in front of the box of 12 and a shark of a defense attorney (and you know these guys would get sharks for lawyers) the tables turn quickly.

Prosecutors are the ones who decided to charge cases, not victims. If they don't think they can win a case, there's no reason to waste time, energy, resources and taxpayer dollars to drag a trial out for 6 months.

Geaux_Blue

September 29th, 2010 at 4:49 PM ^

short of her full on recanting her story, it is not up to a rape victim to explain to the DA how she will present the case. can you imagine if children were expected to explain how they would prove they had been violated? 

what's more, any sort of believability issues would be considered "grey/in her favor" when her story lined up almost explicitly with one of the player's own version of the stories.

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 5:00 PM ^

If it's up to you to sign a couple of felony warrants on two kids that will absolutely change the rest of their life, you better be absolutely sure this is a case worth taking on. I am totally in favor of cross-examining the victim, because it's better that it happens behind closed doors as opposed to in open court in front of a rabid defense attorney.

Children are a little bit different, but the process is the same. Lawyers that handle child abuse cases go to countless classes and seminars every year to learn how to talk to children. You don't grill them, but you learn skills that help you communicate with children. It's only those highly trained lawyers that get to decide whether that child's story holds up in a trial. The same applies for a case like this.

Ziff72

September 29th, 2010 at 1:37 PM ^

 It appears these guys are in the Roethlisberger mode.   It has got to be so hard for the police in these situations......so let's see you got drunk and then went back to the basketball players apartments for what purpose?   Clearly she has the right to say no, but mixing 20 year olds with booze makes these lines awfully blurry.  

briangoblue

September 29th, 2010 at 2:31 PM ^

but unlike the Roethlesberger cases, she has nothing to gain financially from these relatively poor amateurs. At best, all she could hope for is justice administered without a) having her name dragged through the mud, b) having her classmates hate her for ruining the basketball season, c) having to relive the incident in a courtroom. Those are some pretty heavy cons against pursuing prosecution, yet she still wants to. I have a feeling this won't be the last we hear of this story, and it's ugly no matter what school is involved.

Tater

September 29th, 2010 at 3:08 PM ^

I think the classless Sparty fanbase would blame and harass the victim to a point where she would have to transfer to an outstate school to continue her education.  It sucks that a young woman as victimized; it's far worse that she will be denied her day in court because the perpetratrors play on the basketball team. 

As for anyone who wants to compare it to the Michigan case (which, nod nod wink wink, was covered by Sparty Dave Birkett), consensual sex seems a lot more believable in a one-on-one situation than a two-on-one scenario. 

I think the case should be prosecuted, and the story should come out.  Let justice be done either way. 

zoltan the destroyer

September 29th, 2010 at 3:24 PM ^

you are actually insinuating that Michigan State fans would defend known rape by their own athletes and that a Michigan State alum would would falsify rape allegations to make UM athletes look bad.

 

That is messed up... they are in-state SPORTS rivals, not the root of all conceivable evil. Keep it in perspective.

Steve Lorenz

September 29th, 2010 at 1:44 PM ^

Texted a MSU friend of mine....his response: 

It looks voluntary to me. They interviewed the suite mate. Noone will take the case. That was a waste of time to read.

 

Edit: Just received the "I wouldn't be talking with ur program" response also. Epic.  

bigmc6000

September 29th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

"I wouldn't be talking with ur program."???  We spent a few too many hours stretching and we're being compared to a program that allegedly has players getting away with (possibly) rape?  Yeah, your buddy needs to get a grip on what really matters...

Steve Lorenz

September 29th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

No that's incorrect. Refer to my response to bronxblue to see how I feel about the story and what should happen. Posting someone else's irrational response to what happened does not turn into "pointing and laughing" about something as serious as sexual assault. I posted it because I was appalled at the response. About as appalled as I am to think that you would think I find it funny in any way. Sorry you couldn't figure that out. 

Also, to cover legal bases.....it is only an accusation of sexual assault. You have no grounds to say that she was actually sexually assaulted. 

BlockM

September 29th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

I said it was a story about a girl being sexually assaulted. Which it is. Whether that story is true or not could be debated, though we have no evidence beyond this story, but that IS what the story is about. Sorry if I should have written "allegedly," but the story itself covers those bases.

Back to my original point, what exactly is your point then for posting his/her response to you texting him about this story? Would you come post if you had sent the story to a Wisconsin fan and they said that? I can't see your original post's intent being anything other than "OMG look how horrible Sparty fans are."

bigmc6000

September 29th, 2010 at 2:20 PM ^

I think if he had said "I bet Sparty's response would be..." vs "This is what one of them actually said" it'd be different.  The former is clearly designed to poke while the latter (at least to me) is just sad and isn't even in the same frame of reference as "OMG look how horrible Sparty fans are" it's just a recognition that that's what his friend (or ex-friend as it may seem) said. I suppose if you want to take it as "OMG..." then that's on you but, at least to me, I'm just disappointed in that particular person.  I'd bet we'd have a similar response if the shoe were on the other foot from some equally douchey Michigan fan (yeah, they do exist and, no, they don't have a positive MGoPoint account ;)

Steve Lorenz

September 29th, 2010 at 3:02 PM ^

My point was more of a *facepalm* combined with the fact that this particular friend is usually a good representation of what most Spartan fans seem to believe; suffice to say I was surprised that this was his reaction. If that's the consensus feeling, it's pretty sad in my opinion.  

That being said, I don't really care what you see the original post's intent to be. What I do care is that you think I'm making light of a situation, which is not the case at all. 

bigmc6000

September 29th, 2010 at 1:45 PM ^

At least someone (Michigan Messenger) seems to realize that letting people off the hook because they are basketball players isn't ok...  If the evidence is really as damming as what they present those guys should absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt be prosecuted...

dahblue

September 29th, 2010 at 1:46 PM ^

It's pretty wild that the Freep, News and local TV stations all got scooped.  I wonder if there's more to the story (other than a "protect MSU basketball" conspiracy) that will evolve.  Seems like it must.  If protecting MSU sports were the reason not to prosecute, you'd think the football team would have received the same treatment.  Probably is more to the story to shed light on the decision not to charge, or maybe they just aren't charging at this time?

RONick

September 29th, 2010 at 2:59 PM ^

In all seriousness, I doubt there is some grand conspiracy.  This is, however, a difficult situation for the prosecutor because it is not just a couple of average joe's, but a couple of high profile basketball players.  Like it or not, they do and will get some special considerations.

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 4:09 PM ^

Like it or not, they do and will get some special considerations.

I just don't think this is true or not. If anything, a lot of prosecutors would be jumping at the chance to handle a case against high profile individuals like these guys would be. I think if you copy the fact pattern and put in Joe Schmo and John Doe instead of MSU basketball players, the warrant gets denied all the same.

steelymax

September 29th, 2010 at 5:07 PM ^

If anything, a lot of prosecutors would be jumping at the chance to handle a case against high profile individuals like these guys

That's also what Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong thought of the Duke lacrosse rape case. He's since been disbarred, sentenced to jail, sued by defendants, and bankrupt.

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 6:15 PM ^

That's why I don't think there's any indication of favortism on either side. Prosecutors know they could get screwed coming at it from either angle.

 

(To be fair, I don't think Nifong wanted to drill those kids because they were lacross players, I think he wanted to drill them to look nice and tough under IMMENSE public pressure that he got right at the beginning of the case before the facts came out. But what came first, the chicken or the egg right?)

steelymax

September 29th, 2010 at 6:46 PM ^

I think he wanted to drill them to look nice and tough under IMMENSE public pressure

IIRC, he was up for re-election, too.

In the (amazing) documentary "The Staircase", Nifong plays a small role but his arrogance still seeps through.

NOLA Wolverine

September 29th, 2010 at 1:49 PM ^

There appears to be a serious disconnect between the tone the writer wrote with, everything that happened, and what actually constitutes sexual assualt. Although that's to be expected from a writer trying to break a story, something Michigan knows quite a bit about. It'd be interesting to see the actual police reports (which i assume lack bias), but obviously we can't do that.  

CWoodson

September 29th, 2010 at 2:02 PM ^

There's a reason the police don't make those decisions.  They're not incompetent, but those reports assume the statements are true and then recommend what they think the corresponding crime would be.

That said, I've personally seen cases prosecuted for sexual assault on less, so I really wonder what went down here.  The prosecutor's interview/cross-examination, if true (and in fairness, there's no reason to think it is) was wildly inappropriate.

steelymax

September 29th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

Just wanted to note that you correctly used the term "alleged victim" while this article simply uses "victim".

Point is, it's everyone's instinct to "side against" the players - even the writer of the article.

TheMadGrasser

September 29th, 2010 at 2:26 PM ^

Any way you look at this, its sad. First off all, why would the girl go back to their room and take off her shirt? I mean, seriously? Just from what I read, sounds kind of like she didn't say no because somehow they 'coaxed' back into doing the nasty. It does sounds like they knew she was uncomfortable, but they continued anyway. So stupid and sick. Just amazes me how naive kids can be, specifically this girl. I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't prosecute. Someone I know was blatantly drugged and raped against her will and they never prosecuted. Never even tried.

Cheri

September 29th, 2010 at 2:21 PM ^

I think the decision not to prosecute probably has more to do with the prosecutor's feelings on whether or not they can get a conviction.  This is unfortunately how a lot of these things play out.  It's seen as a waste of money if the victim is not good on the stand or not believable or there might be some doubt that she said to stop.   I disagree with this, but I can understand it.

ijohnb

September 29th, 2010 at 3:36 PM ^

You have one of the alleged perpetrators saying to the detectives "she said no and he kept going."  You prosecute that case, beyond a shadow of a doubt.  You could get that statement in.  That is a conviction waiting to happen.  Incredible that they are not bringing charges. 

Zone Left

September 29th, 2010 at 3:49 PM ^

I'm pretty certain they aren't prosecuting because there are reasons they feel like they can't get a conviction.  The other player may contradict himself on important details or simply not be credible.

I guess I believe that prosecutors aren't in the business of covering up crimes like that.  The MSU police department recommended charges based on the evidence, so there must be something else.

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 4:15 PM ^

That statement is from an alleged perpetrator. When he says it, he's implicating the other alleged perpetrator. The only way to get that statement in is to have him testify. The only way he's testifying is if the Prosecutor cuts him a deal or drops him as a possible defendant. That guy is not gonna waive his 5th Amendment right just to rat out his teammate. Anyway, I think this is the part where I say boom! lawyered, but that just seems mean on something so nerdy and nuanced.

FgoWolve

September 29th, 2010 at 4:21 PM ^

It's a little different. What you said is correct. A person can give a statement after waiving his right to remain silent. And that statement can be used against him.

HOWEVER, that statement can't be used against the OTHER guy, which is what this statement would be used to prove. It violates the OTHER guy's right to confront his witnesses. (Which is why you need suspect number 1 to testify, so that the OTHER guy can confront him.)