Title IX complaint against MSU denied by judge

Published: Feb. 25, 2021 at 1:49 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A federal judge has ruled that the complaint against three former Michigan State University basketball players was not enough to establish that the complainant had been subjected to systematic harassment by the university.

The lawsuit was filed by Bailey Kowalski in 2018. In it, Kowalski alleged that on April of 2015 she met the three basketball players at an East Lansing bar. She says she was taken to one of the men’s off-campus apartments, alleging in the complaint that there the players took turns sexually assaulting her.

She also said she believed she may have been drugged. Kowalski said she awoke a few hours later on a couch, then caught a taxi back to her dorm room and contacted university counseling center staff about a week later.

Kowalski has alleged that when she told a counselor that basketball players were involved, she was discouraged by staff from notifying the police.

US. District Judge Paul Maloney stated his reasoning in his written order.

“... on December 12, 2019, the Sixth Circuit provided clear guidance on Title IX claims in Kollaritsch v. Michigan State University Board of Trustees,” Judge Maloney wrote. “... The Circuit Court was explicit: ‘one incident of harassment is not enough’ to plead a Title IX claim, because Title IX requires ‘systemic’ harassment. ... This means that the student-victim must unfortunately suffer ‘at least one more (further) incident of harassment, after the school has actual knowledge and implements a response,’ to state a claim.”

The overall case continues with other arms of the judicial system. Kowalski’s report has been under review by Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office for the past year. Both Ingham County and Lansing Township law enforcement officials have agreed to refer the case to the state for a criminal investigation.

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