Former Michigan State defensive lineman Auston Robertson was sentenced to 43 months to 10 years in prison on Wednesday stemming from an April 2017 sexual assault.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Robertson admitted to raping a woman in an off-campus apartment. Robertson, 21, pleaded guilty last month. He originally faced two criminal sexual conduct charges, but those counts were dismissed as part of his plea deal. Instead, he pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual penetration and will have to register as a sex offender.
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The woman testified previously that Robertson walked her up to her second-floor apartment, then followed her into her bedroom and forced himself on her. The woman said she told her boyfriend, a teammate of Robertson’s, about the incident. The boyfriend notified his coach, who reported the allegations to police, she said.
Robertson had a criminal history before arriving at MSU
After he was formally charged, Robertson was dismissed from the Michigan State football team. Robertson was a high-profile recruit for the Spartans, but he did not sign with MSU until weeks after signing day because of a previous incident.
Robertson was accused of inappropriately touching a female classmate when he was in high school. He entered a diversionary program and had a misdemeanor battery charge cleared from his record. At that point, Michigan State accepted Robertson’s letter of intent.
“Our decision to accept Auston Robertson’s signed National Letter of Intent and Big Ten Tender has been evaluated over the last three months while utilizing all resources available to us to thoroughly review his situation,” MSU coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement when Robertson signed with the school.
“Our relationship with Auston began last summer when he committed to Michigan State. When we accepted his verbal [commitment], we also made a commitment to him and his family. We elected not to sign him in early February, and since then he has been accepted into a pretrial diversionary program and must continue to satisfy those requirements. 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.”
In May, it was revealed that Robertson was previously accused of rape while in high school. From the LSJ:
Canady in May ruled that prosecutors could admit evidence of two previous rape accusations against Robertson — and a portion of a third incident — because the allegations were similar to what the Ingham County woman reported. Those alleged incidents occurred in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Robertson was kicked off the team after being charged
Robertson played in seven games as a freshman in 2016, but was kicked off the team before his sophomore season because of the incident that led to Wednesday’s sentence.
When MSU announced Robertson’s dismissal, Dantonio said Robertson “underwent an extensive educational process with specific prerequisites put in place for his participation as a student-athlete,” including “daily supervised sessions within the football program and regular meetings with university staff addressing appropriate behavior and developmental growth.”
“Despite these measures, Auston broke our trust and expectations by putting himself in a compromising situation,” Dantonio said.
Even after being charged last year, the presiding judge modified the conditions of Robertson’s bond to allow him to attend and play football at Garden City Community College in Kansas. However, while in Kansas, Robertson was arrested in April for armed robbery, pleaded no contest and given 36 months probation. According to the LSJ, that probation will be served after his prison stint in Michigan comes to an end.
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