Michigan State defensive lineman Auston Robertson faces a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge stemming from an April 9 incident in Meridian Township.
The charge was issued on Friday in 55th district court, according to a statement from the Ingham County Prosecutor’s office. Third degree criminal sexual conduct is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
According to court paperwork, Robertson used force or coercion to engage in non-consensual sexual penetration at 2700 Hannah Boulevard, location of The Lodges of East Lansing apartments.
Robertson was suspended from the team on Sunday, April 9, when the coaching staff became aware of the situation. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement at the time that “we will continue to educate and enforce high standards for the program. I expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of Michigan State University.”
He declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation.
Robertson completed his freshman season in 2016, recording three tackles and a forced fumble in seven games. The Fort Wayne, Indiana native joined Michigan State in July 2016 as a four-star recruit and one of its highest-ranked prospects in the class.
Before arriving at Michigan State, Robertson also faced legal issues as a high school recruit. Robertson faced a misdemeanor battery charge in January 2016, stemming from an incident at his high school in Fort Wayne. He entered a diversionary program in March, 2016, and had the charge dropped last month after satisfying the terms of his program.
According to a January, 2016 probable cause affidavit filed in Allen County Superior Court, a classmate told police that Robertson “grabbed her on the vagina” two times while the two were in a high school office.
Robertson didn’t sign a letter of intent with Michigan State on national signing day as expected, instead waiting until March 30, after entering the diversionary program, to sign his letter.
In a statement following his signing, Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said the decision to accept Robertson’s letter of intent was “evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation.
“Given all the information available to us, we believe Auston should be provided with an opportunity to begin his education and playing career at Michigan State.”
While Robertson faces the charge, three other Michigan State players still await word from the Ingham County Prosecutor on sexual assault charges from a separate investigation.
Three unnamed players are the subject of a Michigan State University Police investigation, after a criminal complaint was filed on Jan. 16. That case has been in the hands of the prosecutors’ office for more than a month.
A prosecutors’ office spokesperson said on Friday morning that there has been no change in the status of that case.
A Michigan State staff member has also been suspended pending the completion of that investigation. Recruiting director Curtis Blackwell has been placed under suspension by the school, but MSU had declined to confirm his suspension is a result of the investigation.