Michigan State DL Auston Robertson charged with sexual misconduct

MSU's Auston Robertson charged with sexual misconduct

EAST LANSING, MICH. - Auston Robertson has been charged with sexual criminal misconduct, another allegation of physically assaulting a woman for the Michigan State football player.

Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon this morning has charged Robertson, a sophomore defensive lineman, with third-degree criminal sexual conduct for an assault that allegedly that took place April 9 in Meridian Township.

The charges were sworn in 55th District Court. Meridian Township Police are conducting the investigation.

If convicted, he could face penalties ranging up to 15 years in prison.

It is the second serious allegation levied against Robertson, a 19-year-old from Ft. Wayne, Ind.

He was arrested in January 2016 on a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an October 2015 incident at his high school, Wayne High. Robertson was accused of improperly touching a female classmate, according to Allen Superior Court 4 records. He entered into a diversionary program for that case, which he completed March 11.

Those charges were cleared from his record March 22 after he fulfilled the terms of his diversionary program and by not getting into further trouble, according to court records. Eighteen days later, he was accused of a more significant offense.

Robertson did not sign with MSU on signing day in 2016 after the first incident was reported. Coach Mark Dantonio announced Robertson’s signing March 30, 2016, 19 days after he entered into the diversionary program.

“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed national letter of intent and Big Ten tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” Dantonio said in a statement that day. “Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal (commitment), we also made a commitment to him and his family.

“We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”

Robertson also had charges dropped in September 2015 after allegations of criminal mischief/damaging property and resisting law enforcement, according to Allen Superior Court 5 records.

The 6-foot-4, 281-pound Robertson, who was a four-star recruit, played seven games as a true freshman for the Spartans during their 2016 season. He made three tackles and forced a fumble. Robertson also played defensive end during MSU’s spring game on April 1.

President Lou Anna K. Simon, after the Michigan State Board of Trustees meeting last week said the fourth player – now identified as Robertson – has been suspended from the football team, and a university spokesman said he remains a student.

Dantonio, when asked April 12 if anyone who participated in the April 1 scrimmage has been suspended or is no longer with the program, said other players beyond the 15 who did not dress for the game are in what he termed a “red-lock” situation.

“Well, we red-lock people from time to time. We use the term red-lock for various things. So yes, there has been,” he said. “That’s a constant. There is constant people in and out of different situations. I think that is normal.”

Robertson’s alleged incident is separate from the current ongoing investigation into three other unnamed MSU players and a staff member who the university announced were suspended Feb. 9.

That alleged sexual assault occurred in the early morning hours of Jan. 16 on campus at University Village Apartments and was reported to MSU Police a day later. No charges have been filed yet and that case remains under review by Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon, spokesman Scott Hughes said last week. The players, who have not been named, remained students.

Curtis Blackwell, the program’s director of college advancement and performance, also was suspended Feb. 9. That was exactly a week after the university hired an external Title IX investigator into the first incident.

There are currently three investigations into that situation.

The first is the criminal case, which has been under review by Siemon since March 14. There is no timeline for when or if charges will be filed. MSU Police are seeking four warrants in the case.

The second is the Title IX investigation, which is being undertaken externally by Rebecca Veidlinger. The Ann Arbor attorney who previously worked in MSU’s Title IX office signed a contract with the university on Feb. 2. That is focused on potential violations of the university’s relationship violence and sexual misconduct policy.

The third is an external probe into the football program, which is being conducted by attorneys with Jones Day law firm. That began Feb. 10, the day after the announcement of the suspensions of the three players and staff member.

© 2017 Detroit Free Press


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