Former Michigan State staff member Curtis Blackwell was suspended in February because MSU police say he “interfered” with their investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving three football players.
The information came to light Tuesday thanks to police reports obtained by the Lansing State Journal via a Freedom of Information Act request. The reports, though largely redacted, reveal that Blackwell told police he spoke with two of the players involved a few days after the alleged assault took place, but did not inform police or school officials. The alleged assault took place on Jan. 16, but the report says Blackwell, who was informed of the alleged assault by another player, did not disclose his communication with the players until Feb. 8 interviews with police.
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In a report submitted to prosecutors, which the State Journal obtained through an open records request, police wrote that Blackwell “took it upon himself to investigative” the incident, interviewed suspects and did not share that information he received with police or MSU’s Title IX office.
“I wasn’t doing an investigation or anything,” Blackwell told police. “I was just trying to find out exactly what happened.”
He told police he was trying to determine if the sex was consensual, according to the report. Police took Blackwell into custody and seized two cell phones from him.
The police reports also revealed that three other MSU coaches were interviewed Feb. 8 in addition to Blackwell. Additionally, per the LSJ, Blackwell communicated with the father of one of the suspects “about the incident in the days after it occurred.”
On Feb. 9, Michigan State announced that three players were suspended and being investigated for sexual assault. In that same announcement, the school also said a staff member — later revealed to be Blackwell — was suspended for “compliance with university policy in connection with the allegations.”
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The three players, Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance, were formally charged last week and dismissed from the program. Though MSU police recommended an “obstructing an investigation” charge against Blackwell, prosecutors opted not to pursue the charge.
Blackwell, formerly a high school coach in the Detroit area, is the co-founder of Sound Mind Sound Body Academy, which hosts prominent camps for football prospects. He was hired by Mark Dantonio in August 2013 and served as MSU’s director of college advancement and performance. His contract expired on May 31 and he will not return to the program, MSU confirmed last month.
An independent report of Michigan State’s handling of the situation concluded that Dantonio and athletic director Mark Hollis acted appropriately throughout. Neither, the report said, “attempted to impede, cover up or obstruct the Office of Institutional Equity’s investigation into the underlying incidents.”
The report says Dantonio reported the incident to other school officials “within minutes” of being informed by a player.
For more Michigan State news, visit SpartanMag.com.
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