Michigan State, MSU police cooperate on softball probe

Tony Paul and Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Michigan State Police contacted MSU Police only after determining that a possible assault on a softball player had occurred, the campus police chief said Wednesday.

MSU Police Chief Jim Dunlap said the agencies are "cooperating regarding the investigation" into whether Spartans softball assistant Jessica Bograkos intentionally hit senior Alyssa McBride with two batting-practice pitches after the player made disparaging comments about the program.

The investigation began at the Paw Paw post of the Michigan State Police after being referred from the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department.

"A meeting was held to determine how to proceed with a joint investigation, as there were two jurisdictions involved," Dunlap said in a statement provided to The Detroit News by a Michigan State spokesman. "The two agencies are cooperating regarding the investigation. Some individuals were interviewed by one or the other of the two agencies, and both sets of reports were provided to Ingham County and Isabella County prosecutors for review."

The first alleged incident occurred before a game April 29 at Central Michigan, while the second occurred before the season finale May 3 at Michigan State.

The State Police and MSU Police reports and attachments were sent to prosecutors in both counties last week for review, but only the MSP report has been released publicly. The Michigan State report includes statements from coach Jacquie Joseph, State Police officials said.

Shirlee Bobryk, an attorney for Joseph, told the Lansing State Journal on Tuesday, "Our understanding is that MSU campus police were not happy about this," in regard to the State Police handling of the investigation.

Dunlap didn't say in his statement whether he or other MSU Police officials were unhappy.

Reached Wednesday by The News asking for clarifications on her comments, a spokesman for Bobryk said: "Ms. Bobryk only wishes to add that she has the highest respect for the integrity of Michigan State Police and MSU campus police, as well as for the diligence with which their officers serve and protect the public in situations that are often difficult and dangerous."

Chuck Christensen of the State Police was assigned the case after it was forwarded by the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Department, where McBride's stepfather, Mike Gillette of Mattawan, had gone with his complaints. The case was out of the Sheriff's Department's jurisdiction.

Christensen and Michael Spring, also of the State Police, traveled from Paw Paw to East Lansing to interview Bograkos on May 13. In the State Police report, they write they arrived at Jenison Field House on campus, where they observed Bograkos getting into her car. They followed her to a traffic light, identified themselves and she agreed to an interview.

The interview took place in a parked car in a campus parking lot.

Last week, Joseph's attorneys questioned the involvement of Christensen, calling him a friend of Gillette's. The two say they are acquaintances through their kids' youth sports teams.

The Ingham County Prosecutor's Office said Wednesday nothing has been decided regarding potential charges, while the Isabella County Prosecutor's Office didn't return messages left.

A spokesman for Michigan State told The News the school-commissioned independent investigation, headed by Gerald Gleeson II of Miller Canfield, has begun, and witnesses have been contacted.

Jason Cody, a Michigan State spokesman, said the independent investigation will be completed in "the next few weeks."

Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon, following Wednesday's Board of Trustees meeting, declined comment on the case until she sees results of the investigation.

"We are conducting our own investigation against our expectations of performance by those people who are associated with Michigan State," Simon told The News. "I can't comment ... until the findings of the investigation are complete."

Benjamin Hayden, the key witness in the case who has told police he overheard Joseph and Bograkos talking about hitting a player before the incidents occurred, has not yet been contacted by Gleeson.

When reached by The News, Gleeson declined comment.





Kim Kozlowski contributed