Former MSU players reach plea deal in sex-assault case

Jonathan Oosting, and Kim Kozlowski

Lansing – Three former Michigan State University football players are poised to avoid additional jail or prison time after pleading guilty to reduced charges in a case involving alleged sexual assault.

Josh King, Donnie Corley and Demetric Vance on Wednesday each pleaded guilty to a charge of seducing an unmarried woman. King also pleaded to a surveilling charge and admitted he shared videos of the alleged victim on Snapchat.

All three former players, dismissed from the football team in June, acknowledged they requested or received oral sex from the woman in a University Village apartment in January 2017.

King, who hails from Darien, Illinois, had faced up to life in prison on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, third-degree criminal sexual conduct and capturing or distributing an image of an unclothed person.

Ingham County Prosecutors agreed to drop those charges in exchange for King’s guilty plea on the seduction and surveillance charges. The new counts are punishable by up to five years and two years in prison, respectively, but the deal will allow King to waive his guilty plea if Circuit Court Judge Rosemarie Aquilina sentences him to any jail time.

“The victim was extensively counseled throughout this process, and she has agreed to this plea agreement,” Assistant Prosecutor Steve Kwasnik told Aquilina.

Shannon Smith, an attorney representing King, said he made a recording of the woman’s “unclothed genitalia or buttocks.” He shared the footage with several people on Snapchat, she said, but messages on the social media app are designed to disappear shortly after they are sent.

Aquilina said she was concerned that there still could be “naked pictures” of the victim out there, but Smith said attorneys did their due diligence to ensure there are not additional files that need to be recovered.

Karen Truszkowski, a Lansing-based attorney for the victim, said her client was not interested in speaking publicly about the situation because she wants her identity to remain private.

“Part of the reason she doesn’t want to go public at this point is what has happened to the women in the Nassar case,” said Truszkowski, referring to the more than 200 victims in the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal.

“They have been crucified. Not by the media but by members of the Board (of Trustees), etc., and she is not willing to deal with that now,” the lawyer said. “They have been awful to those women … the comments that some of board members have made and the way MSU has treated them.”

Truszkowski said her client was pleased with her assailant’s Wednesday statements in court.

“They have finally admitted guilt,” Truszkowski said. “They have maintained all along it was a consentual event, and it was not. The fact they finally admitted guilt in an open court gives her some vindication.”

Corley and Vance had faced charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a 15-year felony, that were dismissed as they pleaded guilty to seduction. They, too, can waive their guilty plea if sentenced to additional jail time.

All three players will be sentenced under Michigan’s Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which will allow them to avoid any lasting criminal record for the guilty pleas if they meet certain requirements.

“Technically, this will never enter into a conviction if things go well,” Aquilina told the defendants.

The former MSU players have signed to play football next season at Coahoma Community College in Mississippi. King’s attorney, Shannon Smith, declined to say whether he still intends to play there next year.

On Jan. 23, Corley and Vance had stipulations to modify their bonds in order to attend Coahoma approved by Aquilina. She extended existing bond conditions through a June 6 sentencing hearing.