Ex-MSU player, woman in sex assault case settle lawsuits

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
Former Michigan State wide receiver Keith Mumphery was expelled from the university in 2016 after an alleged sexual assault that took place on campus.

Settlements have been reached this week in separate lawsuits against Michigan State University brought by former Spartan football player Keith Mumphery and a woman who accused him of sexual assault four years ago.

The deal in the Mumphery suit was reached Thursday in a mediation session, according to a document filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. The terms were not released.

Mumphery’s lawsuit filed in 2018 accused MSU of denying him due process and acting wrongfully in expelling him based on a false report. His attorneys assert the situation prevented him from working in the NFL.

“Once the settlement is filed with (the) court and both parties sign off on it, then more information will be available and the university will have a statement,” Emily Guerrant, a university spokeswoman, told The Detroit News in an email Friday night.

Mumphery's attorney, Stuart Bernstein, declined to discuss details of the settlement but said he expected it to be signed next week.

Federal judge Janet Neff ordered that papers to dismiss the former wide receiver’s lawsuit be filed no later than June 7.

Meanwhile, federal court records show a settlement was reached Wednesday in a lawsuit his accuser filed in 2017 against MSU for its handling of the case.

She accused the university of "creating a culture of sexual violence" and failing to follow its own policies or offer protections after she made an assault complaint against Mumphery.

Terms of the settlement were not released. Final paperwork was expected to be filed within 30 days.

Reached Friday, Karen Truszkowski, the lawyer who represented the unidentified woman, would only confirm a deal had been reached.

Guerrant said the settlement still needs to be finalized.

The litigation stemmed from a March 2015 incident. A student identified as “Jane Doe” in court filings alleged Mumphery assaulted her after she invited Mumphery to her dorm room, the lawsuit said. The encounter marked their first in-person meeting, according to the complaint. She later reported the incident to university police and the school’s Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives. The Office of Institutional Equity launched an investigation.

Mumphery, a former wide receiver who claims he and the then-freshman had a consensual encounter after meeting through a dating app, cooperated with the probe. The Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office declined to authorize charges, “concluding that the case could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt” and noting the student who reported the incident never followed up with authorities there, according to his complaint.

The school's Office of Institutional Equity initially concluded Mumphery had not violated MSU policies on relationship violence and sexual misconduct. 

The woman appealed. In 2016, a review panel determined the office had made "procedural errors" and "capricious findings" and directed it to reopen the investigation and clarify the findings.

Months later, Mumphery, who had graduated in spring 2014, was barred from the campus and facilities until Dec. 31, 2018, and told he could not re-enroll.

Soon after news of the expulsion emerged in 2017, the Houston Texans terminated Mumphery’s contract and cut him from the team.

In her suit, the woman claimed the university failed to uphold his campus ban shortly after it was issued in June 2016.

Court records show MSU sought to dismiss the suit in 2018.