EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio has kicked Auston Robertson off the football team after the sophomore defensive lineman was charged this morning with third degree criminal sexual misconduct.
Ingham County Prosecutor Carol Siemon this morning charged Robertson for an assault that allegedly that took place April 9 in Meridian Township. If convicted, Robertson could face penalties ranging up to 15 years in prison.
"The criminal sexual conduct charges announced today against Auston Robertson are of the most serious nature," Dantonio said in a statement released by the university. "Sexual assault has no place in our community. While there is an ongoing criminal process, we’re extremely disappointed that Auston put himself in this position. He is no longer a member of our football program."
It is the second serious allegation levied against Robertson, a 19-year-old from Fort Wayne, Ind. He was arrested in January 2016 on a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an October 2015 incident at his high school, Wayne High. Robertson was accused of improperly touching a female classmate, according to Allen Superior Court 4 records. He entered into a diversionary program for that case, which he completed March 11.
Those charges against Robertson were cleared from his record March 22 after he fulfilled the terms of his diversionary program and by not getting into further trouble, according to court records.
Robertson also had charges dropped in September 2015 after allegations of criminal mischief/damaging property and resisting law enforcement, according to Allen Superior Court 5 records.
Dantonio, in his statement, said Robertson "underwent an extensive educational process" that included "daily supervised sessions within the football program and regular meetings with university staff addressing appropriate behavior and developmental growth." Robertson’s diversionary program included a 22-week course focused on behavior changes that began in Indiana and was transferred to the state of Michigan’s Prevention and Training Services program.
"Despite these measures," Dantonio said, "Auston broke our trust and expectations by putting himself in a compromising situation."
The four-star recruit did not sign with MSU on signing day in 2016 after the first incident was reported. Dantonio announced Robertson’s signing March 30, 2016.
"Due to the charges he was facing during his recruitment, we took precaution in allowing Auston to be a part of our football program, including a thorough vetting, which we acknowledged publicly at his signing," Dantonio said in his statement. "This was a multiple-step process that continued through his final admission in the summer."
The 6-4, 281-pound Robertson played seven games as a true freshman for the Spartans during the 2016 season. He made three tackles and forced a fumble. Robertson also played defensive end during MSU’s spring game on April 1.
"Our players are representatives not only of themselves and their families, but also Michigan State University, this football program and all of those who support us," Dantonio said in his statement. "We will continue to emphasize and enforce the high standards of integrity, respect and accountability that I have for everyone in this program. We expect all of our players to conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and principles of this university."
Chris Solari writes for the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.