Michigan State player charged with criminal sexual conduct
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) Michigan State defensive end Auston Robertson was dismissed from the team Friday hours after being charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in an alleged rape earlier this month.
Robertson, 19, is accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him at her apartment the night of April 8 in Meridian Township, near the East Lansing school. Coach Mark Dantonio released a statement after the charge against Robertson was announced by Ingham County prosecutors.
"The criminal sexual conduct charges announced today against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature," Dantonio said. "Sexual assault has no place in our community. While there is an ongoing criminal process, we're extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position. He is no longer a member of our football program."
Prosecutors said they didn't know if Robertson had an attorney. The Associated Press sent an email seeking comment from Robertson, who hadn't been arraigned.
Three other Michigan State football players are part of a sexual assault investigation following a January incident. Those three players have been suspended.
Robertson played in seven games last season as a freshman. He signed with the Spartans in 2016, but Michigan State did not announce until late March of that year - weeks after signing day - that it had accepted his letter of intent. Robertson had been a defendant in a battery case in Indiana.
When the Spartans did welcome him into their signing class, Dantonio said Robertson had been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and needed to continue to satisfy those requirements. That case was officially dismissed last month.
"Due to the charges he was facing during his recruitment, we took precaution in allowing Auston to be a part of our football program, including a thorough vetting, which we acknowledged publicly at his signing," Dantonio said. "This was a multiple-step process that continued through his final admission in the summer."
Dantonio went into detail Friday about some of the conditions put on Robertson after he arrived on campus.
"This included daily supervised sessions within the football program and regular meetings with university staff addressing appropriate behavior and developmental growth," Dantonio said. "He also successfully completed his one-year diversionary program as directed by the court, which included a 22-week course focused on behavior changes that began in Indiana and was transferred to the state of Michigan (Prevention and Training Services). Despite these measures, Auston broke our trust and expectations by putting himself in a compromising situation."
There has been no announcement from prosecutors on any charges for the three other players. They face allegations of sexual assault, and the school announced their suspensions Feb. 9. Their names have not been released .
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Updated April 21, 2017