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Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Dantonio, Former President

Mark Dantonio

A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday against former Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio and other officials who were accused of retaliating against a staff member when the school was dealing with sexual assault allegations against players.

U.S. District Judge Janet Neff adopted the recommendation of a magistrate judge who said Curtis Blackwell’s lawsuit was pursued for an “improper purpose.”

In 2017, Blackwell was suspended and ultimately released as the football team’s director of college advancement and performance. He served as a mentor to athletes, focusing on graduation and career objectives.

Blackwell sued Dantonio, former President Lou Anna Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis, alleging they illegally retaliated against him because he declined to speak to police in an investigation of three players. They denied any retaliation.

The judge also ordered Blackwell to get new lawyers by June for his remaining claims against two campus police detectives who believed he was interfering with their investigation and arrested him. He wasn’t charged.

Dantonio retired in February as Michigan State’s coach.

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