A stunning new report details how Michigan State University's 'dream team' recruiting class crumbled after 4 football players were accused of sexual assault
- Michigan State Football's 2016 "Dream Team" recruiting class crumbled after multiple players were accused of sexual misconduct, according to a series from the Detroit News.
- When Michigan State recruited defensive end Auston Robertson, coaches reportedly knew of his sexual misconduct rap sheet, which dated back to when he was 11 years old, the Detroit News reported.
- In the year after he enrolled at Michigan State, Robertson would help a woman who said she was assaulted by one of his teammates, and weeks later, assault his friend's girlfriend, according to the report.
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When Michigan State University's football program recruited defensive end Auston Robertson for its 2016 team, coaches reportedly knew of sexual misconduct allegations dating back back to when he was 11 years old.
What they didn't know was that in just over the year after his signing, Robertson would help a woman who said she was assaulted by one of his teammates, and weeks later, plead guilty to assaulting a woman himself.
Robertson is currently serving up to 10 years in prison at a facility in Northern Michigan. New details in his case were reported as part of a series from the Detroit News about Michigan State Football's 2016 "Dream Team" recruiting class, which crumbled after several players, including Robertson, were accused of sexual assault.
At the time of Robertson's signing, Michigan State Football coach Mark Dantonio said he and his colleagues had utilized "all resources available" to investigate Robertson's history.
Robertson's alleged misconduct began when he was 11, according to court documents reviewed by the Detroit News.
At the time, he had threatened a female friend with rape, and when her mother called the police, Robertson admitted the incident, according to records seen by the Detroit News.
'I had to get her out of there'
The following years were riddled with similar and heightened incidents, the Detroit News reported, including two when Robertson was 15 years old: Police say he dragged a girl into a bathroom and pulled down her pants, and that he had non-consensual sex with a girl at his house.
Once he enrolled at Michigan State in the fall of 2016, Robertson would visit Dantonio's office once a week - it was Dantonio's way of making sure he stayed on track in school and out of trouble.
But in January 2017, Robertson told Dantonio about a party that had happened the night before. He said he was at teammate LJ Scott's apartment when he found a female friend disheveled, lying on the floor near the bathroom.
"I had to get her out of there," he told Dantonio, according to the Detroit News. "She is my friend."
The woman said she went into a bathroom with freshman lineman Joshua King. In a police report, she accused King of forcing her to perform oral sex and raping her, before inviting two men, who were later identified as freshmen football players Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, into the bathroom for her to perform further sex acts.
King, Corley, and Vance were arrested in the following weeks.
From helping a friend to raping another woman
That same semester, Robertson was accused of raping his friend's girlfriend.
On a night in April 2017, Robertson, his girlfriend, a friend, and his friend's girlfriend went out for pizza. When Robertson's girlfriend was dropping the other girlfriend off at her apartment, Robertson walked her to the door. While his girlfriend waited in the car for him, police said Robertson forced himself on the woman.
Less than two weeks later, he was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct.
In the year that followed, Robertson, King, Corley, and Vance were all kicked off Michigan State's football team, and the man who recruited them, Curtis Blackwell, was fired over "philosophical differences," Dantonio said. Blackwell is now suing the university.
To avoid going to jail, King, Corley, and Vance pleaded guilty to charges relating to a Michigan law from 1846, admitting they did "seduce and debauch" an unmarried woman. They were put on probation for three years, had to go through a sex-offender training, and go to therapy.
Robertson pleaded guilty in the assault on his friend's girlfriend. He's serving up to 10 years in prison at Newberry Correctional Facility in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or visit their website to receive confidential support.
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