Report: LSU Officials Did Not Address Sexual Misconduct
Louisiana State University failed to adequately address allegations of rape and assault against top football players and others at the university during a period of three years, according to a USA Today investigation.
The newspaper reported that members of the athletics department “doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate, or didn’t call the police” when told about multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Darrius Guice, a former running back for the LSU football team who went on to play for the Washington Football Team and was recently dropped after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. Athletics officials learned of the alleged sexual assaults of two women at Louisiana State who said Guice raped them in 2016 and 2017, and the officials did not take steps to report or investigate the claims, USA Today reported.
According to the newspaper’s investigation, another football player, Drake Davis, went on to physically abuse his girlfriend, a tennis player, for a year after the woman and her father reported the abuse to her tennis coaches, who failed to notify the university’s office for Title IX, the law prohibiting sex discrimination at federally funded institutions. Guice and Davis are among nine football players accused of sexual misconduct since Ed Orgeron, the university’s head football coach, took over in 2016, USA Today reported.
The USA Today investigation also detailed flawed and delayed Title IX processes that other women at the university experienced after making allegations against nonathletes. Tom Galligan Jr., interim president of Louisiana State, sent a message on Monday to members of the campus that did not dispute the USA Today report’s accuracy, but assured students, faculty and staff members that the university “takes every report of sexual assault or violence seriously.”
“We empathize with the victims featured in the article, and for that matter, all victims of abuse or any form of violence,” Galligan wrote. “We at LSU are committed to preventing all acts of violence and creating a safe learning and working environment for all members of our community. And while I’m confident in our people and our processes, we won’t be satisfied until we are living up to our own expectations every time, all the time.”
The university has hired Husch Blackwell, a law firm that specializes in consulting with colleges on Title IX, to review policies and procedures for handling complaints of sexual misconduct, Galligan wrote. He encouraged students to come forward if they were sexually assaulted or harassed, or if they believe a previous report was not handled properly.