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Former MSU student's lawsuit could affect dozens of sexual assault convictions

Michigan State University sign
Michigan State University
A request to expand a legal challenge against Michigan State University has the potential to reverse many findings against students accused of sexual assault.

A former Michigan State University student argues his rights were violated when he was not allowed to directly question the woman who accused him of sexual assault. The case could affect dozens or more similar cases.

The student’s legal team has asked for class-action status in his case before a federal judge. If granted, that could affect dozens of other cases in which MSU students face similar accusations. That development was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.

MSU determined the man was culpable and suspended him for two years. But he says the fact that he was never allowed to face his accuser in the proceedings denied him due process. Class-action status would allow more accused perpetrators to ask a judge to rule on similar claims.

If the class action is approved, it’s possible the status could also be extended to cases from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, which, along with Michigan, make up the states covered by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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