A USA Today sports investigative report published Monday alleged at least nine LSU football players, including former running back Derrius Guice and wide receiver Drake Davis, have been reported to police for sexual misconduct and dating violence since LSU head coach Ed Orgeron was promoted to interim head coach in 2016.
Orgeron read a prepared statement at the beginning of his weekly news conference on Monday afternoon:
“I’d like to address the USA TODAY article that came out. First I want to say that we need to support and protect victims of violence, sexual abuse of any kind. There’s no place in our society nor on this campus or on our football program for any behavior of this type.
“When accusations are made, we have a legal and moral obligation to report every allegation to the university’s Title IX office so due process can be implemented. I have in the past, and will continue to take appropriate action and comply with reporting protocols. I have confidence that the university is working to address our policies and processes when allegations arise. That is all I’m going to say at this time.”
LSU punter Zach Von Rosenberg used his Twitter account to defend Orgeron with a tweet that was later deleted.
“I felt obligated to defend my coach bc we had team meetings about nearly every incident,” Von Rosenberg tweeted. “Most of these players were either dismissed or removed from the team. The others I don’t know all the details, but what I do know is my coach would do the right thing. Fact.”
The USA Today report alleges LSU officials knew of the sexual assault allegations made against Guice and other former players, but LSU either ignored those complaints or denied the victims’ requests for protection.
The report also cites three cases in which football players were found responsible for sexual assault and were allowed to stay on campus, receiving deferred suspensions, which amounts to probation.
Guice was twice accused of rape, first in spring 2016 semester by a member of the LSU diving team and then in April 2017 by a women’s tennis player.
Also, in the summer of 2016, a female student who worked part-time in the LSU football recruiting office told two senior athletics administrators that Guice took a partially nude photograph of her without her permission, and then shared it with a team equipment manager and possibly others.
It is required by federal laws and LSU’s policies that university officials take such allegations seriously and report them to the Title IX office for investigation, and to the campus police if the incidents occurred on school property.
Yet in all three cases, LSU officials either doubted the women’s stories, didn’t investigate, or didn’t call the police while Guice continued his football career.
At least seven LSU officials had direct knowledge that Davis was physically abusing his girlfriend, a different LSU women’s tennis player than the one who accused Guice of rape. The officials hushed the information for months while Davis continued to assault and strangle her.
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