An unnamed female Michigan State student has filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan State University, alleging that three former basketball players raped her in April 2015, days after the team’s Final Four loss to Duke. The alleged incident took place in an off-campus apartment, and specific players were not named in the lawsuit.
The Title IX lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, per several sources. The plaintiff alleges that the university subjected her to a “hostile educational environment,” and that she was discouraged by campus counselors to report the incident to police.
According to the student’s attorney, the focus of the lawsuit is on the way the university handled the situation.
The student states the following in the lawsuit:
“MSU has fostered a culture in which female victims are discouraged from reporting sexual assaults when those assaults are perpetrated by male athletes, thus protecting the university, the male athletics programs, and the male athletes at the expense of the female victims.”
ESPN, the first outlet to break the story, reported the intention of the lawsuit is to help women come forward about assault.
“I don’t want a girl who’s a senior in high school right now, with her whole life ahead of her, to have to go through the same thing I did,” she said.
The woman, who is reportedly still an MSU student, was a freshmen in 2015 and an aspiring sports journalist. She has since changed her major after briefly leaving the university.
This lawsuit comes a little more than two months after an ESPN report uncovered multiple allegations of sexual abuse in both the MSU football and basketball programs. Last week, three former football players accepted plea deals in a sexual assault case. The University is also still closely involved in the Larry Nassar case, in which more than 140 women testified detailing sexual abuse by the former MSU doctor who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison. Both the former university president Lou Anna K. Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis have resigned in the wake of these allegations.