Student claims she wrote paper for rape suspect

Anthony Maggio

The University student who reported being sexually assaulted by two University football players now says she also wrote a paper for one of them the morning of the incident.

Mackenzy Toussaint, 20, and Steven Watson, 19, were released late Thursday night on $50,000 bond each after being charged with first and third degree criminal sexual assault. The alleged incident occurred in Roy Wilkins Hall on campus.

The victim’s mother told The Minnesota Daily her daughter would not conduct any more interviews, but she did confirm the comments the victim made to the Star Tribune in an interview Friday.

“Right now she is just not in the position to keep talking about this,” the victim’s mother said. “For her to personally give a statement again in the midst of an investigation could be very detrimental to the case.”

The victim said Toussaint called her the morning of July 6, asking for assistance with an English paper due at noon. When she arrived to help him, he was finished with fewer than two pages of a six-page paper. The victim said she rewrote what Toussaint had done, then finished the remaining four pages of the paper about Toussaint’s views regarding the death penalty.

After completing the paper, she and Toussaint left the apartment. She later returned to the apartment to proofread another football player’s paper. Then she took a nap before Toussaint and Watson returned around 5 p.m. The alleged sexual assault occurred soon afterward.

The latest allegations of academic misconduct come in the wake of the academic fraud scandal in the men’s basketball program, which ended in both self-imposed and NCAA sanctions last fall. The University will add the latest allegation to its ongoing investigation into the alleged attack.

The penalty for academic misconduct ranges from a disciplinary warning up through suspension and expulsion, depending on the investigative panel’s recommendation.

“Obviously plagiarism is a clear violation of our rules,” University President Mark Yudof said. “At this point, though, they are only allegations. We will refer it to the proper internal systems for investigation and resolution.”

Even if proven, the allegations would not constitute an NCAA violation because the woman did the work as a friend and not as a representative of the team or athletics department.

Yudof said he is concerned about the latest academic misconduct allegations but is not frustrated by another allegation coming from the athletic program.

“It’s not pleasant to have such allegations in the wind,” Yudof said. “I wish there were no plagiarism on campus, but unfortunately there is. However, I don’t think it’s any more rampant here than it is at other universities. In fact it may be better here. You enforce the rules and do so in a very tough manner, and that is the best you can do.”

Watson and Toussaint were automatically suspended from the football team after University police informed Tonya Moten Brown, who oversees men’s and women’s athletics, of the complaint. The two players turned themselves in to authorities Wednesday evening.

This is Watson’s second arrest for sexual misconduct in the past nine months. The defensive end was accused of sexual assault last December in an incident at University Village. Those charges were dropped due to lack of evidence.

Their initial court appearance was Wednesday, and both are scheduled to appear in court for a probable cause hearing Sept. 12.

Anthony Maggio welcomes comments at [email protected]