Michigan State football Coach Mark Dantonio announced Tuesday that defensive end Josh King, wide receiver Donnie Corley and safety Demetric Vance have been dismissed from the team after a judge in Michigan signed warrants for their arrest over an alleged sexual assault that occurred at an on-campus apartment in January. King was charged with first- and third-degree sexual assault and one count of capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person; the Detroit Free Press says he faces up to life in prison if convicted. Corley and Vance each were charged with third-degree sexual assault and could get up to 15 years in prison on a guilty verdict.
The three players were suspended from the football program and were removed from campus housing in February, after the school said it became aware of the incident.
“When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families, and we welcome them into ours. We emphasize that success on the field is not enough, as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations,” Dantonio said in a school-issued statement. “They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.
“Sexual assault has no place in our community, and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family.”
Chad Davis, a detective with the Michigan State police department, told Judge Richard Ball on Tuesday that King pulled a woman into a bathroom at a party and forced her to have sex with him. King also let Corley and Vance into the bathroom at separate times, the detective said, and forced the woman to have oral sex with them. Davis testified that all three players admitted having sexual contact with the woman after initially denying it and that police uncovered evidence of the attack on their cellphones, including a “suspicious” text message thread and video on King’s phone that showed him having sex with the woman.
Jim Dunlap, chief of the Michigan State police department, said his officers had spent more than 1,500 hours on the investigation and had conducted more than 100 interviews, according to the Free Press.
The Jones Day law firm, which had been tabbed by the school to investigate the football program’s handling of two reported sexual assaults, found evidence that football staffer Curtis Blackwell violated school policy “by speaking to the players and not telling his bosses what he learned from those conversations,” according to ESPN. Blackwell, the team’s director of college advancement and performance at the time of the January incident, did not have his contract renewed when it expired last month. He has not been charged with a crime.
A highly touted recruit out of suburban Chicago, King started two games last season as a true freshman and had 10 tackles. Corley, also a freshman who started two games in 2016, was third on the team with 33 catches and three touchdown receptions. Vance redshirted last year, his first in East Lansing.