More Sketchy Allegations: Michigan State Clears Former Athletes of Sexual Assault


There are three things that are held to be universal truths on the left nowadays: death, taxes and the fact that sexual assault accusers almost never lie.

On the last count, there was some sign last week that it might not be as immutable as the other two:

Three former players for the Michigan State University Spartans basketball team have been cleared by the school of sexual assault under a Title IX investigation after a former student accused them of gang rape.

That student, Bailey Kowalski, had made the allegations public in a news conference this April — one month before she graduated, according to ESPN.

The State News reported that Kowalski had originally filed a lawsuit against the university in May of 2018 alleging the men raped her on April 11, 2015.

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“I am coming out today because I am no longer afraid. I’m empowered to do this. I have nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed of,” Kowalski said at the news conference.

“I know that there are others that exist and they too have been afraid. I want to be an example for them. These silent survivors matter and they’re worth fighting for.

“I was only 18 years old as a freshman when I was gang-raped and no one prepares an 18-year-old to go through something like that,” she continued.

“At the time I needed help most, I went to the Michigan State counseling center where I was told during freshman orientation that I would find support. Instead, I was intimidated, and I was told I was going to be dealing with some ‘really big fish.”‘

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In her affidavit, Kowalski alleged that two of the basketball players brought her back to one of their apartments from a bar, where they and a third basketball player took turns raping her.

The alleged assault was never reported to police — in part, Kowalski said, because she’d used a fake ID to get into the bar where they met.

She also said that the phrase “really big fish” had led her to believe the players would get the university’s backing.

According to ESPN, two players admitted to having sex with her but said it was consensual. They said she misidentified a third player — something that Kowalski acknowledged was possible, but that it shouldn’t call her account into question.

“I’m enraged because of the fact that they said they were there,” Kowalski said, according to ESPN.

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“It’s not like my credibility is, like, ‘Oh, she doesn’t even know who did it.’ Because two of them did say it was them.”

The third player that the other two players mentioned as having been at the apartment didn’t respond to investigators when they tried to reach out to him, ESPN reported.

On Wednesday, a Title IX report from the school found that the three players weren’t responsible for the sexual assault.

However, a Friday report from the Detroit Free Press didn’t seem to indicate she had done so.

“There’s not much I can comment on right now because we are most likely going to file an appeal,” Karen Truszkowski, Kowalski’s attorney, told The Detroit Free Press.

Kowalski told ESPN that she planned to file a report with the Lansing Township Police.

Pressing charges isn’t likely to yield a better result for Kowalski, however. One of the players’ lawyers noted one of the great inequities of the process at the college level:

“The burden of proof is so low in these kind of cases for a complainant to prevail. They just have to believe one side a little more than the other side,” Stu Shafer said told ESPN.

“They couldn’t even meet that low threshold.”

Ever since the Obama administration changed the evidentiary level necessary to find students culpable of sexual assault on the campus level to “preponderance of the evidence,” we’ve seen case after case which has been grossly unfair to the students involved. (Even the normally liberal The Atlantic noticed the problem.)

This case didn’t even get that far.

“The 39-page report concluded that a ‘preponderance of the evidence’ did not support that the three players Kowalski originally named had violated university sexual misconduct policy,” ESPN reported. “It did not list a finding for the other player.”

For instance, Kowalski told investigators she thought she had been drugged as she had difficulty with laptop keys. However, they noted that if she had been drugged, she wouldn’t have remembered so many details of the assault.

“The investigator concluded that even if Kowalski were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, there was not enough evidence to show that the two players would have known; they told the investigator she could walk on her own and did not appear to be drunk,” ESPN reported.

“Very few facts are in agreement regarding what occurred …,” the report read. “These facts include what led up to sexual activity, the details of the sexual act, and the type of sexual intercourse.”

Kowalski has vowed to continue with the case.

“I’m seeing this through to make sure that those who need to be held accountable are held accountable,” Kowalski said.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture