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'Jane Doe' No More: MSU Assault Victim Reveals Her Identity

woman crying
Matthew Dae Smith / LSJ
Bailey Kowalski says she was raped by three Michigan State University basketball players in 2015. She is suing the university under a federal Title IX suit.

A once-anonymous victim who says she was sexually assaulted in 2015 by members of the Michigan State University basketball team is stepping forward to tell her story.


Editor’s Note:  The original version of this story inaccurately referenced Ms. Kowalski as saying counselors told her to “just get better yourself.”  The actual quote as initially reported by the New York Times was “just get yourself better.”  We apologize for the error.





Four years ago, Bailey Kowalski was a hopeful 18-year-old Michigan State freshman who dreamed of becoming a sports broadcaster. 


She says that changed after the night three members of the MSU basketball team took turns raping her. 


Kowalski sought help from campus counselors, who upon hearing that her assailants were athletes, allegedly told Kowalski “just get yourself better.”


Fighting back tears, Kowalski said she didn’t choose to be raped, or to face the consequences her whole family has had to bear.


“These decisions were made for me when I was only 18 years old,” Kowalski said.  “I know the 18-year-old Bailey Kowalski is gone; I grieve who she once was…but I look forward to who I will become because I took this step.”


Kowalski filed a Title IX lawsuit against MSU in 2018.  The university is asking a federal judge to drop the case.


In a written statement, MSU spokesperson Emily Gerkin Guerrant said, “we are committed to listening to survivors who bravely tell us about their experiences so that we can improve our response and help those who seek support in the future.”





Kevin Lavery is a general assignment reporter and occasional local host for Morning Edition and All Things considered.
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