Sports | November 16, 2020 11:08 am

Report: Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Top Athletes Mishandled by LSU

A "USA Today" investigation found officials in the university’s athletic department repeatedly ignored complaints against players

Report: Sexual Misconduct Complaints Against Top Athletes Mishandled by LSU
The logo on the field of the LSU Tigers prior to a 2011 game.
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A USA Today investigation has determined officials in LSU’s athletic department repeatedly mishandled sexual misconduct complaints against students, including some of the school’s top athletes.

Since coach Ed Orgeron took over LSU’s football team four years ago, at least nine players, including accused rapist Derrius Guice, have been reported to police for sexual misconduct or dating violence. But, how the school handled those allegations is “largely secret,” according to USA Today.

“Officials in the university’s athletic department and broader administration repeatedly have ignored complaints against abusers, denied victims’ requests for protections and subjected them to further harm by known perpetrators,” the publication reports.

In the piece, USA Today paints the picture of a system that allows male students, some of whom have admitted abuse or misconduct, to remain on campus and on the field, often without any discipline at all.

Specific to the football program, Orgeron told USA Today that any allegations are taken “very seriously.”

“We are committed to a culture of safety, equity and accountability for all students and staff,” he said. “We provide education, training and resources to combat violence, sexual misconduct, and inequality.”

Elizabeth Taylor, a Temple University professor who studies sexual assault and harassment within athletics organizations, has a different opinion.

“I don’t assume that any of these coaches don’t understand that what’s happening is wrong,” she told USA Today. “I think they’re making decisions that are best for the success of the program, and they’re making the decision to put the safety and well-being of other students behind a player’s ability to play on a Saturday afternoon.”

Prior to USA Today’s piece being published, LSU warned its major stakeholders that “a national news outlet will be publishing an investigative story in the very near future that will attempt to paint LSU in a negative light” in a memo, according to The Advocate.

“We will have more to say after it is published, but understand that our ability to respond in any level of detail, as well as to correct any misinformation, is limited given our obligation to protecting the privacy of all students, according to the law,” the memo said in part.