Former Hinsdale South football star faces sexual assault charges
A former Hinsdale South High School football star, defensive end Josh King, was one of three players dismissed Tuesday from the Michigan State team by head coach Mark Dantonio after a judge in Michigan signed warrants for their arrests over a sexual assault that authorities say occurred in January at an on-campus apartment.
King, 19, was charged with first- and third-degree sexual assault and one count of capturing/distributing an image of an unclothed person; the Detroit Free Press says he faces up to life in prison if convicted.
The two other players who were removed from the team, wide receiver Donnie Corley and safety Demetric Vance, each were charged with third-degree sexual assault and could get up to 15 years in prison on a guilty verdict.
Chad Davis, a detective with the Michigan State police department, told Judge Richard Ball on Tuesday that King pulled a woman into a bathroom at a party and forced her to have sex with him.
King also let Corley and Vance into the bathroom at separate times, the detective said, and forced the woman to perform sex acts.
Davis testified that all three players admitted having sexual contact with the woman after initially denying it and that police uncovered evidence of the attack on their cellphones, including a "suspicious" text message thread and video on King's phone that showed him having sex with the woman.
Attorney John Shea, who represents Corley, said in a statement that his client is innocent. "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."
The three players were suspended from the football program and removed from campus housing in February after the school said it became aware of the case.
"When we choose student-athletes to come to MSU, we enter into a relationship with them and their families, and we welcome them into ours," Dantonio said in a school-issued statement. "We emphasize that success on the field is not enough, as I made clear when all three individuals were suspended four months ago upon us learning of the allegations.
"They also must embrace our core principles, which include integrity, respect and accountability. The individuals in this case put themselves in a compromising position and did not live up to the standards we have outlined for our program.
"Sexual assault has no place in our community, and I want to share my deep concern for the young woman affected and her family."
Jim Dunlap, chief of the Michigan State police department, said his officers spent more than 1,500 hours on the investigation and conducted more than 100 interviews, according to the Free Press.
The Jones Day law firm, which had been contacted by the school to investigate the football program's handling of two reported sexual assaults, found evidence that football staffer Curtis Blackwell violated school policy "by speaking to the players and not telling his bosses what he learned from those conversations," according to ESPN.
Blackwell, the team's director of college advancement and performance at the time of the January case, did not have his contract renewed when it expired last month. He has not been charged with a crime.
A three-year starter and three-time all-West Suburban Gold selection, King, of Darien, was the league's defensive lineman of the year in 2015 and named to the Daily Herald's DuPage County All-Area Team. Listed at 6 feet, 6 inches and 267 pounds as a sophomore at Michigan State, King also made two all-star football teams and was ranked No. 1 among the state's top seniors by Rivals.com.
He also became the first multiple state champion in Hinsdale South history in 2016 when he won the Class 2A wrestling champion as a heavyweight after winning the 3A title in 2015.
A highly touted recruit, King started two games last season as a true freshman and had 10 tackles. Corley, also a freshman who started two games in 2016, was third on the team with 33 catches and three touchdown receptions. Vance redshirted last year, his first in East Lansing.
• The Daily Herald and The Associated Press contributed to this report.