LSU pledged to take “appropriate steps” and that the outside investigation into its mishandling of sexual assault and abuse claims against athletes will be finished by February, interim president Thomas Galligan and athletic director Scott Woodward said in a campus-wide email on Wednesday, via USA Today.
The school came under fire earlier this month after a report detailed a horrific mishandling of sexual abuse and assault claims against both current and former athletes there. The Husch Blackwell law firm is conducting the independent investigation, and met with LSU officials on Wednesday.
“We owe it to all victims of sexual or domestic violence to carefully examine how we do things and to make the necessary changes,” Galligan and Woodward wrote, via USA Today. “As your Interim President and Director of Athletics, we want you to know that we take responsibility for righting any wrongs that may have occurred in the past, and for making sure that we do all we can to prevent similar circumstances from happening in the future.”
Horrific allegations against LSU
A USA Today investigation earlier this month found that LSU had consistently mishandled sexual misconduct allegations against both male students and top athletes. At least nine football players who played for coach Ed Orgeron, including running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver Drake Davis, were named in the report.
There have been several accusations against Guice, including multiple rape allegations. He was also accused of taking a naked photo of a fellow student after a night of drinking without her knowledge, and then allegedly shared it with others. Davis was accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend, a former LSU tennis player, six times over a year — including leaving her bruised and bleeding. LSU officials reportedly knew of the abuse but did not report it or help stop it.
Davis was eventually punished by LSU and expelled in 2019 after he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse. Only one other football player — Peter Parrish, who was accused of raping a woman in a car — was punished by the school. LSU has reportedly hid police reports, failed to contact or follow up with accusers or ignored their claims completely.
The reports have drawn widespread outrage on campus, sparking both large protests and even condemnation from Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards — who called for a “prompt, thorough and transparent investigation.”
“We have to take this very seriously,” Edwards said, via USA Today. “We cannot tolerate any instances where someone might willfully turn a blind eye to credible allegations of this kind of violence and abuse. If that happened, we need to know about it.”
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