OT: Report on Sexual Assault by Marquette Athletes last year

Submitted by StephenRKass on October 28th, 2011 at 11:11 AM

(Full Disclosure:  this post has nothing to do with Michigan athletes or athletics, but is about misconduct by current college athletes elsewhere being shielded by their respective university. Obv. if mods think too OT, well, do what you do.)

The Chicago Tribune has a long article interviewing and covering sexual assault by a number of athletes at Marquette University last year.  (Link:  http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-marquette-sex-cases-20111028,0,4057558.story) The woman involved has been shunned by former friends and become a pariah and social leper, but has not caved.

Reading the article, my mind jumps to the shenanigans in the MSU dorms last year. I find it reprehensible that coaches and university administrations are complicit in protecting and shielding their athletes from any consequences. Over at our favorite school in Ohio, running back Jamaal Berry is under investigation for an alledged assault earlier this month (Link:  http://www.thelantern.com/campus/lawsuit-filed-against-jaamal-berry-for-assault-battery-ethnic-intimidation-1.2669315#.TqrCmEPaWOp). And what do you know, the athletic administration isn't doing anything because no criminal charges have been filed yet.

Michigan is not perfect. I know about incidents in the past with players exposing themselves, and being charged with assault. Stupidity is part of human nature.

Having said that, I really hope that Hoke, his staff, the AD, and the university administration are united in dealing with any future incidents firmly and decisively. This is one area where I would rather we lose a solid player (if indeed assault occurred) and consequently, Michigan loses games, rather than shielding the player in the hope of winning more games.

I also really dislike a culture where students shun and mistreat a fellow student speaking up against something that is wrong (re:  original Tribune story.) Anytime you have a "win at any cost" and "Winning isn't everything . . . winning is the only thing" mentality, something has gone dreadfully wrong. If Hoke is a coach who does things the right way, and is put up against a great coach who compromises in order to win, well, I'd go with Hoke every time.



October 28th, 2011 at 11:18 AM ^

Not MSU. A girl was sexually assaulted, the university didn't do anything, the local prosecutor didn't touch the player because it's Notre Dame, her friends shunned her and then she committed suicide.


October 28th, 2011 at 12:17 PM ^

Again, that is highly irresponsible to say if you don't have a good command of the facts. A  now starter for Michigan was accused of sexual assault on campus not that long ago and charges never materialized (and his identity was never revealed in the papers). Wouldn't you think it irresponsible for a Notre Dame fan to say a Michigan player raped a girl and the prosecutors covered it up because he's a Wolverine? The only difference in the stories as I know them is the girl in South Bend killed herself.


October 28th, 2011 at 1:35 PM ^

I understand your skepticism. Yuo should be. Without getting political, in America you are innocent until proven guilty. At times the system works, at times it doesn't, it's not perfect. I respect the points you've made that "the whole truth isn't out there". Sexual assault is not a clear cut topic anyway - so many shades of gray. Just wanted to say that I think you've handled your viewpoint well. Hooray for thoughtful debate, don't find that many places on the internet


October 28th, 2011 at 1:41 PM ^

OK if true that's news to me and obviously changes things (although it does nothing to substantiate the charge of prosecutorial misconduct). Do you have a link? As I said from the get go I'm not familiar with the facts of the case.


October 28th, 2011 at 12:31 PM ^

Police have to be contacted quickly. It seems that in both cases, the campus security bungle things, and worse, are part of the coverup. I wonder what would have happened if the Milwaukee Police & South Bend Police were contacted right away. The lack of timeliness in contacting them made a proper and useful investigation impossible.


October 28th, 2011 at 12:44 PM ^

The girl went to the university to report it and it take a long time for the university to even look into it. When they did look into it they didn't even talk to any witnesses.  It took them even longer to tell the police about the accusations as well. The only reason the police got involved was because of the parents. I'm from South Bend. I have friends at St. Marys and at Notre Dama with good knowledge of the situation. If I was so inclined, I  could tell you the name of the player involved, along with several people involved with the situation too. I'm not making shit up.


October 28th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

I mentioned MSU instead of ND because they've been brought up so often, and Dantonio seemed to do nothing with significant discipline. But yeah, the sexual assault nature of the offense fits ND better than MSU.


October 28th, 2011 at 11:21 AM ^

So, no charges have been filed against the players?  The article doesn't say why.  This does put the coaches and the University in a difficult position to suspend players on a he said, she said case, unless charges are filed.


October 28th, 2011 at 11:38 AM ^

Probably because there is no evidence or testimony against them.  I'm guessing the other girls won't come forward or proceed into trial and the third girl that is actually standing up was drunk.

Three incidents with five players in the last year seems too common to me.  Something is obviously wrong and sexual assault is not cheating in class, it can seriously affect the victim. While I obviously never support rape or sexual assault, I'll admit that I never know how to feel about drunk girls and sexual assault (unless it's a sober perpetrator).


October 28th, 2011 at 11:32 AM ^

Just because the person assaulted at MSU didn't commit suicide, it doesn't make what happened there any less reprehensible.  Looking at the police report, I can't imagine why any responsible prosecutor wouldn't love taking the case to court.  Instead, it gets covered up.  And the same newspapers that hammer Michigan didn't bother to send anyone to EL.  

Can you imagine what would happen if, for example, the freep used as many resources to investigate the coverup of this crime as they did with the " freep jihad," which didn't involve any felonies or sexual assaults and was just a sports story?  

What happened in EL wasn't a sports story; it was a real-life crime "allegedly" committed by a member of a high-profile sports team .  Prosecuting it would be a great opportunity to teach people that no means no, and that nobody is exempt from the law, regardless of whether or not they play basketball for MSU.  

It would also be a great opportunity for MSU to show that they don't really, despite all appearences, encourage and enable criminal behavior from their athletes.  In all cases, the victims and their families deserve justice.  

swan flu

October 28th, 2011 at 12:02 PM ^

I live in Milwaukee and remember when this was a big issue.  My fiancee went to Marquette and has stories about how sketchy the basketball team was.


Marquette has had multiple issues of misconduct by the basketball team being swept under the rug.


But honestly I think the issue is really about men using alcohol to take advantage of women.  The fact that athletes are doing it makes it a big story.  The fact that a girl can be taken advantage of and have ANYONE tell her that it was her fault is a social issue... and a disturbing one at that.


October 28th, 2011 at 2:08 PM ^

Absolutely stunning that the prosecutor wouldn't take that case forward and the university didn't take any action. Anyone who doesn't think rape is condoned as a part of big-time athletics should read that article and then rethink their stance.


October 28th, 2011 at 1:45 PM ^

I would just like to comment on the misconception that there was any type of "cover up" regarding the MSU case.  Unlike some of these other cases, the accuser in the MSU case never went to the MSU administration.  Instead she went straight to the Ingham County prosecutors office.  There she was interviewed and the DA opened an investigation.  After interviewing the accused and completing the investigation the DA decided not to file criminmal charges.  The DA was quoted as saying they dropped the case because in their opinion "no crime had been committed."  (It should also be noted that the Inham County DA has had no problem going after MSU athletes in the past.)

The report, including full interviews with the accuser and the accused, can be found online.  If you want, you can read them and form your own opinions.  (I will say that the actual police report does not entirely match what was reported by the Michigan Messenger.)

Again, my point is that a DA deciding not to file criminal charges does not equal a "cover up."  Nor does it mean that MSU coaches and administrators are turning a blind eye or accepting sexual misconduct.


October 28th, 2011 at 2:52 PM ^

Universities discourage victims of sexual assault from going to the police because if they deal with these cases internally they don't get included in the annual campus crime reports. Always skip the school/campus cops and go straight to the police.


October 28th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

This stuff is horrible. I don't have any doubt numerous things similar to this happen all over and don't go to the autorites. Of course, on the flip side there are situations like Duke Lacrosse. When I was in college, which wasn't long ago, it seemed as though an athlete really didn't struggle in terms of female company. I don't get why they do these sorts of things when really, they don't have to. Also, every time I hear of one these stories, I do have to second guess it because the false accusations do exist and those do damage just the same. There was a kid I knew who was at a smaller college and was in one of these sorts of situations. I would bet my life he was not guilty of what he was accused. Nevertheless, even though the law never found him to have done something wrong, his reputation and now he is "that guy who forced a girl to do this or that."