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Michigan St. settles suits in sexual assault case

Michigan State has settled two Title IX lawsuits with opposing parties in a sexual assault case that had resulted in disciplinary action against a former football player, according to court documents filed Friday.

Court filings showed that mediation meetings held this week led to the university settling its lawsuit with a former female student, who went by Jane Doe in court filings, and a separate but related lawsuit filed by former football player Keith Mumphery, who the woman reported sexually assaulted her in 2015.

Terms of the settlements were not included in the court documents filed in the U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan; Judge Janet T. Neff has asked for dismissal papers to be filed in early June. Attorneys for Mumphery and the woman declined to comment, and a Michigan State spokeswoman said Friday that she could only confirm that the school has reached settlements with both parties and could not provide further details at this time.

The woman’s lawsuit, filed in November 2017, stemmed from a report that Mumphery sexually assaulted the woman in her dorm room on March 17, 2015. It stated that the school did not provide her with counseling and academic support while twice investigating her complaint and, after Michigan State eventually found Mumphery in violation, did not uphold a provision banning him from campus.

In May 2018, Mumphery filed his Title IX lawsuit against Michigan State in which he accused the school of violating his due process rights and expelling him over what his lawsuit stated were false accusations. The lawsuit stated that the school’s actions cost Mumphery his NFL career, noting that he was cut by the Houston Texans within days of a May 31, 2017, Detroit Free Press article about the sexual assault investigation and his expulsion and ban from campus.

Based on police reports, lawsuits and Title IX investigation documents, the woman and Mumphery agree that she invited him to her room, but the woman stated that she was intoxicated and tried to resist Mumphery’s advances, even to the point of having to push his penis away multiple times and shove him off her.

Mumphery said the woman, who he told police had appeared sober, willingly engaged in sexual contact and was the one trying to initiate vaginal sex but that she got angry when he insisted on wearing a condom.

On March 18, 2015, the woman reported the alleged incident to Michigan State University Police. Police investigated her claim, but the Ingham County prosecutor’s office decided not to bring charges against Mumphery, according to the police report.

Her report that same day to the Michigan State office that handles sexual violence complaints resulted in a six-month Title IX investigation that determined in September 2015 that Mumphery had not violated the school’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy.

The woman appealed the school’s finding, and a new investigator reviewed the case, which included additional evidence, and found on March 21, 2016, that Mumphery had violated university policy by sexually assaulting the woman. Mumphery was banned from campus until Dec. 31, 2018, and prevented from reenrolling at Michigan State, according to the lawsuits.

In the woman’s lawsuit, she alleged that the university did not enforce the ban, noting that on June 14, 2016 — just a week after he had been banned from campus — a Michigan State Twitter account tweeted that Mumphery had been invited to a university-sponsored football camp on campus. The lawsuit stated that during that weekend, “[the woman] was terrified when her friends notified her that Mumphery had been spotted on campus and around East Lansing.”

Mumphery, who had received his undergraduate degree from Michigan State in May 2014, was a non-registered graduate student who intended to pursue a graduate degree in communications, according to his lawsuit. He last played for Michigan State in fall 2014 and was drafted by the Texans the following spring. He is currently an NFL free agent.

His lawsuit alleged that the school took advantage of his absence from campus and failed to give him notice of the appeal and subsequent renewed investigation, noting that he did not receive the letters or emails sent by Michigan State, including the initial letter informing him of the ban. His lawsuit stated that Michigan State ignored the earlier findings to “appease” the woman, who had been a freshman at the time.

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