EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) Former MSU basketball player Travis Walton is denying allegations that he punched a woman and sexually assaulted a woman while he was a student assistant coach.
The allegations came from an ESPN "Outside the Lines" report released last Friday. It accused Walton of punching Ashley Thompson in the face in an East Lansing bar on January 16, 2010.
"He started speaking with us, and I'm like, 'I'm sorry. Can you just give us a moment?'" Thompson told Outside the Lines. "And he was like, 'You don't know who I am?' And I was like, 'I really don't care who you are.' And he kind of got angry at that point, and I told him to not-so-politely F-off."
Thompson claims Walton hit her twice, with the second blow knocking her off her barstool and unconscious. Walton eventually pleaded guilty to a civil infraction for littering. In a statement released to wilx.com he said the following:
I never physically assaulted a woman at an East Lansing establishment, as alleged. While conversing with her, and without notice or provocation, she threw a drink at me, and I subsequently left the establishment. Two written statements from independent, objective witnesses were given to the City Attorney, and support my innocence. Ultimately, the determination to resolve the case was based on the merits of the investigation.
The ESPN report says Walton and two basketball players were later accused of sexually assaulting a female MSU student. The report says the woman did not report it to police. It says she told a counselor while her parents talked to then-athletic director Mark Hollis about it. ESPN quotes a letter from former MSU sex-assault counselor Lauren Allswede saying the incident was discussed with the basketball team and that Walton was fired. Walton disputed that in his statement:
I was never hired or fired by Michigan State University. In January of 2010, I was enrolled at Michigan State University, taking the necessary classes to complete my degree. Upon graduation, I returned to Europe to continue my basketball career.
He also denies the sexual assault claim, saying he only ever had consensual encounters with the accuser. He says he was never charged and that to his knowledge the "alleged sexual assault was never reported to Michigan State University or the police."
Walton goes on to say he stands by the facts and will defend himself. He apologizes for the negative attention this had brought on Michigan State and the Los Angeles Clippers, the NBA team he works for. The entire statement is attached to this story.