Michigan State Spartans

Getty Images

Police: Dismissed Michigan State player sexually assaulted woman while girlfriend waited in car

9 Comments

It made perfect sense why Mark Dantonio dismissed Auston Robertson from his Michigan State football team on Friday. Now it really makes sense.

Friday, reports surfaced that Robertson was facing a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, stemming from an April 9 incident.  At the time, no details of what led to the charge were divulged; now, they have been.

From mlive.com, detailing the testimony of Meridian Township (Mich.) police detective Rebecca Payne during a court hearing:

… the alleged victim said she ran into Robertson at a party at around 11 p.m. on April 8 in East Lansing.

After the victim accompanied Robertson and a friend to a local pizza place, Robertson’s girlfriend then picked up the three and drove the alleged victim to her apartment, according to the testimony. MLive does not typically disclose the identities of sexual assault victims.

When the car arrived at the apartment, Robertson told the alleged victim he was going to walk her to her door “to make sure she gets there safely.” The woman told Payne she had been drinking.

He then entered the apartment and penetrated her against her will, according to Payne’s testimony, despite the alleged victim telling him multiple times to stop. He then abruptly stopped and told the alleged victim to not tell anybody about the incident, the testimony continued.

Prior to signing with MSU as a four-star member of its 2016 recruiting class, Robertson was charged with misdemeanor battery in his home state of Indiana.  Prior to that, he had been charged with criminal mischief, damaging or defacing property and resisting arrest in a separate incident. Those charges were later dropped.

Michigan State DE Auston Robertson dismissed from program after sexual conduct charge

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michigan State has dismissed defensive end Auston Robertson from the football team.

It surfaced earlier on Friday that Robertson was facing a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge as the result of an alleged incident on April 8th. It didn’t take long for the school to react to that headline hitting the papers before the Spartan defender was dismissed.

“The criminal sexual conduct charges announced today against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature. Sexual assault has no place in our community,” head coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. “While there is an ongoing criminal process, we’re extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position. He is no longer a member of our football program.”

Robertson was charged with misdemeanor battery back in high school before even arriving in East Lansing but it was the latest troubling set of allegations that led to his quick dismissal from the program this time around. Per the Detroit Free Press, police said he raped a woman in her apartment after walking her home earlier this month.

Dantonio suspended Robertson from the team a day later and then formally booted him once charges were formally filed in the matter on Friday. The Free Press obtained court records that indicate the defensive end’s bond has been set at $75,000 but that he has not been formally arraigned yet.

Robertson played in seven games for the Spartans last season as a true freshman and was one of the team’s top recruits.

The dismissal is the latest in a string of bad news for Dantonio’s program this spring as they seek to reverse things on the field after a disappointing 3-9 campaign in 2016. Over a dozen players missed the team’s spring game two weeks ago and several unidentified players were suspended as the school investigates several sexual assault allegations. In addition, a prominent football staffer was also suspended for a month.

Michigan State signee injured in jet-ski accident still hospitalized, but making progress

Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s actually, finally, some positive news when it comes to Michigan State’s 2017 recruiting class.

Earlier this week, MSU signee Lashawn Paulino-Bell was injured in a jet-skiing accident while on vacation in the Bahamas and had to be airlifted to a Miami hospital for further treatment.  The last update made available was that Paulino-Bell was hospitalized with unspecified internal injuries.

Thursday brought a seemingly positive update on a GoFundMe page from the football player’s aunt…

Happy Thursday Everyone!!! I didn’t get my push up contest today (He told me he didn’t want to embarrass me!!) 🙂 We made great progress today. Walked the long hall several times. Talked a lot more today (mostly football). Pain subsided a lot more. Made great progress with vital signs, eating, and drinking! Overall today was a great day!!! Please keep the prayers and donations coming!! We are appreciate it all!!

… as well as a Twitter post from one of his high school teammates…

It remains unclear what if any impact the accident will have on Paulino-Bell’s availability for the start of summer camp in early August.

247Sports.com had Paulino-Bell listed as a three-star 2017 recruit and rated him as the No. 44 weakside defensive end in the country.  Prior to the injury, the 6-4, 235-pound lineman had been expected to contribute immediately as a true freshman.

Michigan State’s Auston Robertson facing criminal sexual conduct charge

Getty Images
3 Comments

There’s been a rather significant development regarding one of the two sexual assault investigations involving Michigan State football players.

Last week, it was reported that an unnamed MSU player was the subject of a probe stemming from an April 9 incident.  According to mlive.com, and after the Ingham County (Mich.) prosecutor’s office requested an arrest warrant, Spartans defensive lineman Auston Robertson is now facing a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct stemming from that alleged incident.  The charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.

Robertson was one of the players suspended for the Spartans’ spring game. “[W]e will continue to educate and enforce high standards for the program. I expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University,” a statement from head coach Mark Dantonio earlier this month read.

Perhaps as troubling is that this is not Robertson’s first run-in with the law.

The lineman had been committed to the Spartans but did not sign with MSU in February of 2016 after he was charged with misdemeanor battery in his home state of Indiana.  Robertson subsequently signed with MSU in late March of that year after he entered into a pretrial diversionary program, with “the charge dropped last month after satisfying the terms of his program,” mlive.com wrote.

“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” Dantonio said in a statement at the time. “Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.

Prior to that, he had been charged with criminal mischief, damaging or defacing property and resisting arrest in a separate incident. Those charges were later dropped.

A four-star recruit, Robertson was rated as the No. 9 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player at any position in the state of Indiana.  The only recruit in MSU’s class that year rated higher than Robertson was fellow four-star defensive end Josh King.

As a true freshman, he played in seven games.

In early February, three unidentified football players as well as a football staffer were suspended amidst sexual assault allegations.  Robertson’s case is separate from that investigation.

Indiana won’t accept any player with history of sexual or domestic violence

Getty Images
8 Comments

One Big Ten school is following in the SEC’s footsteps — and blazing its own path on top of it.

In April of 2015, the SEC voted to ban member institutions from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for serious misconduct at his previous school, with that defined as sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence.  In June of 2016, that same conference announced that it will be expanding its existing policy to include “dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana has enacted a similar policy, with the Big Ten school barring a transfer from another institution from enrolling “who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence.” Sexual violence is defined by the school as “dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct.”

IU’s policy also significantly expands on what the SEC’s current policy is, as not only transfers but “incoming freshmen” are a part of the ban as well.

“I think it’s new ground,” athletic director Fred Glass told the Star. “My hope is that we’re leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with, maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions.”

The university also ensured that any appeals would be handled “outside the athletic department.” From the paper’s report:

It includes an appellate process, Glass said, acknowledging that “there’s always a chance that there’s going to be some person that gets caught up in this that shouldn’t, when you consider all the circumstances.”

But Glass also emphasized that any such appeal would go before a committee comprised of [IU faculty athletics representative Kurt] Zorn, IU general counsel Jacqueline Simmons and IU chief student welfare and Title IX officer Emily Springston.

“The key to that,” Glass said, “is those decisions are being made outside the athletic department.”

The Big Ten has allowed each member institution to institute — or not — its own policy on this issue.  Indiana is the first; whether other conference members follow suit will be interesting to see play out.