Ex-MSU players Donnie Corley, Josh King arraigned

Matt Charboneau, and Michael Gerstein
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Former Michigan State football players Josh King and Donnie Corley were arraigned Wednesday in 54B District Court on sexual assault charges while attorneys representing each declared their clients’ innocence.

The charges stem from in incident Jan. 16 at University Village Apartments. King and Corley were accused of taking part in the alleged assault, as was teammate Demetric Vance, who was arraigned Tuesday on third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges.

Former Michigan State defensive lineman Josh King talks his his attorney, Shannon Smith, in 54B District Court in East Lansing on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, King appeared with attorney Shannon Smith. The 19-year-old from Darien, Ill., is charged with one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and a count of capturing an image of an unclothed person. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Judge Richard Ball set a $25,000 cash surety bond. Prosecutors requested a $50,000 bond while Smith pushed for a $10,000 bond, similar to that of both Corley and Vance. However, Ball pointed toward the difference in severity of the charges as well as the fact King lives outside of the court’s jurisdiction as evidence the bond was set fairly.

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While pushing for a lower bond by describing the cooperation King has shown toward both the MSU Police and the Title IX investigators, Smith said that videos on King’s phone will prove his innocence.

“I believe once we’re able to open those videos, which were on the phone given to law enforcement though they couldn’t open them, it will show this is consensual,” Smith said. “We have a very strong defense and I believe that we are happy to be in front of the court and have this process started because this is the first chance my client has had to fight this offense.”

Former Michigan State receiver Donnie Corley, left, of Detroit walks into 54B District Court in East Lansing on Wednesday for his arraignment.

Corley, 19, of Detroit, was arraigned earlier in the morning on third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and faces up to 15 years if convicted.

“He has denied the allegations,” John Shea, Corley’s attorney, said after the arraignment.

Shea declined to speak further, instead referring to a statement issued a day earlier.

“It’s never a good day when a criminal charge is filed against you, but at least Mr. Corley knows what he is facing and can get on with the process of fighting it,” the statement read. “As appropriately noted by Prosecutor Siemon in her statement, the charge is only an accusation and Mr. Corley is presumed to be innocent. He maintains that, in fact, he IS innocent, and we intend to demonstrate that in the coming proceedings.”

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All three players, who were dismissed from the football team on Tuesday by coach Mark Dantonio, have preliminary exams scheduled for June 22.

According to testimony from MSU Police detective Chad Davis during a Tuesday hearing to authorize the arrest warrants, the alleged victim reported on the morning of Jan. 17 that she was sexually assaulted at a party in the University Village apartments.

She said King pulled her into a bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex before pulling her pants down and sexually assaulting her. The testimony then said King allowed Corley and Vance into the bathroom and the victim was forced to perform oral sex on them.

The criminal case is just one aspect of the incident. Michigan State also conducted a Title IX investigation that was completed in late May and found that three football players were in violation of university policy. Those players will go through the student conduct system where a board can establish punishment ranging from suspension to expulsion, if it determines punishment is warranted.

MSU also used the Jones Day law firm to perform an external investigation into the football staff’s handling of the incident involving King, Corley and Vance, as well as a later sexual assault case involving former player Auston Robertson. That report said Dantonio and his staff followed protocol, however, one former member did not. That former member was Curtis Blackwell, whose contract was not renewed, though Dantonio said this week it wasn’t because of the investigation but because of a “philosophical change.”