Report: Tom Izzo 'sought out' witness in alleged sexual misconduct case from 2017
Michigan State head basketball coach Tom Izzo “sought out” a witness in an alleged sexual misconduct case involving a basketball player in 2017, according to a recent report from ESPN.
The report states that Izzo and two assistant coaches contacted the witness before he spoke with police or the school about the situation. The allegation is against Brock Washington, who is currently suspended by the team, for forcibly groping a female student in 2017.
Brayden Smith, the witness in this case, told police that Izzo and assistant coaches Dwayne Stephens and Mike Garland contacted him about the incident before he spoke with police or school officials.
“When police officers interviewed Smith about what he had seen that night in August 2017, he said he had already been contacted by Izzo and assistant coaches Dwayne Stephens and Mike Garland about the incident. They “asked [Smith] if he was OK and if there was anything that he had seen during the evening,” according to the report. Smith made a similar statement to a Michigan State Title IX investigator: “Mr. Smith said he was sought out by Mr. Izzo and other members of the basketball coaching staff. Mr. Smith said they asked him what he knew and if he was OK,” according to the Title IX report. Smith, who was not present for most of the interactions between Washington and the woman, told police that what he saw he thought was consensual.”
Co-founder of the Association of Title IX Administrators W. Scott Lewis said the actions of Izzy’s actions could result in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights or a lawsuit.
“You just don’t do that,” Lewis said.
“It’s entirely another level when my player says, ‘Oh, my friend Brayden was there,’ and you call Brayden in as a coach and say, ‘Tell me what your perspective is,’” Lewis said. “Now you’re investigating. You’re not just being supportive of your athletes. If you know the police are looking into this or the Title IX office is looking at this, it becomes even more inappropriate for you to step in and do your own ad hoc Title IX investigation.
“Once you’re calling in other people, it starts to reek of either you investigating this yourself or trying to intimidate a witness.”
Last week, ESPN reported that a woman at Michigan State reported to police that she was raped by a member of the Spartans’ basketball team (Washington). The prosecutor’s refusing to file charges, the woman requested that the Michigan attorney general investigate the matter.
Michigan State police told prosecutors that there was “probably cause” that Washington sexually assaulted a woman when she was too intoxicated to provide consent.