LSU associate athletic director of football recruiting Sharon Lewis told USA Today in an exclusive story published Tuesday said her attorneys plan to file multiple lawsuits against the school.
In an explosive interview Lewis conducted on a Zoom teleconference with her attorney present, Lewis told USA Today writer Kenny Jacoby she was tormented by LSU senior athletic department officials, discriminated against because of sex and race and not given pay raises because she reported football coach Les Miles’ sexual harassment of student workers.
Lewis said she was harassed and undermined by Miles, who made no secret about trying to sexualize the group of student workers she supervised. She also said Executive Deputy Athletic Director Verge Ausberry verbally abused her and he and Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar lied to an LSU Title IX investigator to get her in trouble.
Lewis also said she suffered a mental breakdown after years of being ridiculed in front of her co-workers and then being told to find another job when she complained.
Her lawyers plan to file a federal Title IX lawsuit, a state whistleblower lawsuit, an Equal Employment Opportunity grievance and a civil lawsuit under the federal RICO statute, which is used to dismantle organized crime rings.
The defendants will include Ausberry, Segar, compliance director Bo Bahnsen, current and former members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, the law firm Taylor Porter, former LSU President F. King Alexander and Athletic Director Scott Woodward.
The most explosive allegations from Lewis are centered on Miles and Ausberry.
Miles repeatedly pressured Lewis to replace Black student workers on her recruiting staff with blond women or light-skinned Black women whom he considered prettier. She said when she refused, he directed other coaches and administrators to get her to comply.
Lewis recalled a meeting with Miles, director of football operations Sam Nader, assistant coach Frank Wilson and then-director of player personnel Sherman Morris in which Miles confronted Lewis about the type of girls he wanted for a recruiting event. When she rejected his orders, she said he kicked everyone out of the room and then threatened her.
“He got in my face and said that if I was a coach and didn’t do what he said, he would punch him in his mother f—— face,” Lewis said. “I said, ‘I guess that you will just have to punch me in my mother f—— face.’”
Also, Lewis said Ausberry has been hostile, screaming at her.
Lewis said Ausberry instructed some of the National L Club board members not to vote for her when she ran for president. After she won, she said Ausberry held a meeting with senior staff members and told them not to grant her all the powers of the presidency.
Also, Lewis said she was with Wilson listening on his office speakerphone when Ausberry called Lewis a “stupid incompetent b—-.”
Lewis filed Title IX complaints against Segar and Ausberry for failing to report Title IX complaints. She said she asked Ausberry in a meeting last fall why she hadn’t received pay raises and promotions and why he’d never stood up for her. According to Lewis, Ausberry responded, “Because you turned me in.”
Lewis said Ausberry told her last October that current LSU athletic director Woodward was his “boy” and that he would never promote Lewis and or meet with her.
Woodward, hired in April 2019, has yet to meet with Lewis.