LSU Concludes Legal Dispute Over Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Claims

LSU Concludes Legal Dispute Over Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Claims

LSU and ten former students who sued the institution for alleged mishandling of sexual assault and domestic violence charges against football players and others at Louisiana’s flagship state university have settled.

“The Court has been advised that the parties in this matter have settled all of their claims and have agreed to amicably resolve this dispute,” US District Judge Wendy Vitter stated in a March 28 ruling dismissing the case.

The settlement details have not been published.

Four plaintiffs in the 2021 civil case accused former star running back Derrius Guice of sexual misconduct. Another plaintiff, former LSU women’s tennis player Jade Lewis, claimed that LSU failed to adequately respond to claims that she was being beaten by former Tigers receiver Drake Davis while the two were in a relationship. The complaint focused on federal Title IX rules against gender-based discrimination, harassment, and assault.

The complaints from female students stretching back about a decade reached former university authorities after they had left the institution.

Former LSU football coach Les Miles and former university President F. King Alexander lost their positions elsewhere.

Miles, who won a national championship while coaching at LSU from 2005 to 2016, was fired at Kansas in 2021.

Oregon State fired Alexander as president. He worked at LSU when charges that Miles made inappropriate sexual attempts toward female football office employees were kept confidential by the university and its law firm in 2013, despite then-athletic director Joe Alleva’s suggestion that Miles be removed.

LSU engaged the Husch Blackwell law firm to evaluate the university’s handling of sexual assault accusations, and the findings was widely distributed in 2021.

The firm’s 148-page findings addressed problems across campus, including allegations against fraternity members. However, the most high-profile charges were football players, notably Guice, who was released by his NFL team in Washington in 2020 after being arrested for domestic abuse.

Husch Blackwell ruled that LSU had fallen short in dedicating resources to Title IX compliance, instead providing more opposition than assistance to claimed victims.

Allegations of sexual misbehavior or physical abuse were reportedly leveled against nine players who competed for Ed Orgeron, who succeeded Miles as coach in 2016.

Orgeron led LSU to an unblemished record and a national championship in 2019.

Some of the accused players were disciplined and eventually departed LSU, while others, including Guice, left in good standing and were drafted by the NFL.

The Husch Blackwell study was more critical of LSU administrators, saying that coaches often lack the skills to handle sexual misconduct charges and should direct them to Title IX compliance officers.

The most severe punishment imposed on current LSU workers was a month-long suspension for deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar. They were found to have mismanaged several sexual misconduct charges.

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