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Woman claiming rape by former MSU players speaks publicly



By DAVID EGGERT Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – A Michigan state college student who sued the school after claiming three former men's basketball players beat her in 2015 at a press conference Thursday that she wants to encourage other "silent survivors" of sexual assault to tell their stories .

Bailey Kowalski, 22, to be in May with a biology degree, held the fourth anniversary news meeting of the alleged incident. She spoke one day after publication for the first time in a story published by The New York Times.

"This is not a burden they have to carry on their own," she said of other rape victims, whom her parents, brother and lawyer looked at inside a hotel meeting room near the East Lansing campus. Kowalksi turned up when she said that her decision to file the lawsuit a year ago and become public now was influenced by the appearance of victims of scared former university sports teacher Larry Nassar.

"It gave me the opportunity to do it," she said.

The suit in which Kowalski is listed as Jane Doe says she was 1

8 April 12, 2015, when she met the players at an East Lansing bar about a week after the team lost in the Final Four. She was later taken to an off-campus apartment where the players switched to rape in a bedroom, according to the complaint.

She caught a taxi back to her dorm room and contacted a counseling center staff about a week later. After telling a counselor that basketball players were involved, she said the staff had received her from notifying the police.

"I was scared and I was told to swim with some really big fish," Kowalski said on Thursday. "I will never forget this sentence and the immediate sense of despair and isolation."

The suit, which was changed in December, points to previously alleged sexual assaults involving MSU athletes, including two separate 2010 incidents, totaling five basketball players allegedly raping women and not being charged or disciplined. It claims that the University violated the requirements of Section IX and Kowalski's rights by not following normal reporting and investigation procedures when athletes were involved, actively discouraging victims from reporting reports and not notifying them of reporting and confidentiality.

Kowalski said she would have filed a police report if she had known she would not get into trouble using a fake ID at the bar and she would have had a rape set if not for fear of that her parents' insurance should be billed.

The school declined to comment on the trip on Thursday referring to the trial, but last year she was treated appropriately by the counselors and refused to refrain from filing a title IX complaint or contacting the police.

The university opened a title IX study after learning the suit. The review is underway.

"We are committed to listening to survivors who boldly tell us about their experiences so that we can improve our responses and help those seeking support in the future," said University Spokeswoman Emily Gerkin Guerrant in a statement.


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