Report: LSU mishandled rape, abuse allegations against numerous football players

A USA Today investigation has found that LSU has consistently mishandled sexual misconduct allegations against male students and top athletes, including running back Derrius Guice, wide receiver Drake Davis, and at least seven other football players who played for coach Ed Orgeron.

According to USA Today, LSU ignored or failed to follow Title IX laws, denied accusers access to police reports, and at various points failed to investigate, alert the police, or take any meaningful action whatsoever. Complaints against athletes were ignored, and when they weren’t, the alleged victims’ stories were doubted and they were denied protection against their aggressors.

Numerous accusations against Guice

The first accusation against Guice surfaced in 2016 when he was accused of taking a naked photo of Samantha Brennan, a fellow student, after a night of drinking. The photo was taken without the student’s knowledge, and Guice allegedly shared it with others. Brennan filed a report with the campus police, but declined to press charges. Title IX laws require an investigation of the incident, but Brennan never heard from LSU’s Title IX office.

USA Today reported in August that two other women have accused Guice of raping them at LSU in 2016. LSU has refused to make all of Guice’s police records available to anyone. They will reportedly not allow Brennan to see her own police report until the statute of limitations runs out, nor will they allow one of the women accusing Guice of rape to see her police report or any related documents.

Despite persistent rumors about his behavior, Guice was picked in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft by the Washington Football Team. Washington released him in August 2020 after Guice was arrested on domestic violence charges.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 13: Head Coach Ed Orgeron of the LSU Tigers coaches from the sidelines against the Clemson Tigers during the College Football Playoff National Championship held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)
An investigation has shown that LSU and football coach Ed Orgeron have not been taking sexual assault allegations against football players seriously. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

Davis’ abuse known to LSU execs

Davis began dating an LSU tennis player in Jan. 2017 and started abusing her shortly after. The woman, who chose to remain anonymous, told USA Today that Davis abused her six times over the course of a year, leaving her bruised and bleeding. LSU officials, including both LSU tennis coaches, knew about the ongoing abuse but did not contact the LSU Title IX coordinator (as required by law) or do anything else to stop it.

Via USA Today:

Interviews with the woman, her father and several teammates, as well as a detailed LSU Police Department arrest report released after the case closed, demonstrate how LSU officials who were told of the abuse – including by the woman and Davis directly – repeatedly failed to act on the information, each time leaving her vulnerable to Davis’ increasingly violent attacks.

LSU finally recognized the woman’s complaint in April 2018, over a year after the abuse started, but failed to take any meaningful action as Davis’ abuse escalated. Davis wasn’t arrested until August, after the woman showed an athletics department employee photos of her injuries and text messages from Davis telling her to kill herself.

USA Today’s investigation found that Davis had admitted to the abuse in an April 2018 text message to deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry. Ausberry sat on the confession for months, and it was not revealed until police got a search warrant for Davis’ phone.

Davis was eventually punished by LSU. In July 2019, ten months after he left the school and four months after he pleaded guilty to domestic abuse, LSU finally expelled him.

No discipline

Beyond Guice and Davis, seven other football players who were coached by Orgeron were accused of rape or some kind of sexual misconduct. Only two have been punished. One is Davis and the other is quarterback Peter Parrish. According to USA Today, Parrish was accused of raping a woman in a car earlier in 2020. LSU suspended him for one year and he eventually decided to transfer to Memphis.

The other seven, including Guice, were not disciplined. LSU has refused to release police records of any investigations relating to those players.

From USA Today:

Guice’s attorney has said he was never disciplined, and LSU attorney Johanna Posada confirmed in response to a public records request that four other athletes were not disciplined, either. They include running back Tae Provens, linebacker Jacob Phillips, tight end Zach Sheffer, all accused of rape; and safety Grant Delpit, who was accused of recording a woman during sex without her knowledge and sharing the video with others. Provens was arrested; his case remains open, the district attorney's office said. The others have not been criminally charged.

Both Phillips and Delpit were picked by the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 Draft.

Orgeron responded to USA Today’s investigation with a statement.

“We are committed to a culture of safety, equity and accountability for all students and staff. We provide education, training and resources to combat violence, sexual misconduct, and inequality,” Orgeron said in his statement. “When we become aware of accusations, we have an obligation to immediately report every allegation to the University’s Title IX office so that appropriate due process can be implemented.”

LSU also responded with a statement.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to respond promptly to any reports of misconduct, to investigate these reports in a manner that is fair and equitable, to support victims of sexual assault, and to protect the privacy of our students according to the law,” the statement said. “Putting an end to sexual assault is an institutional priority, and we are constantly working to achieve that goal.”

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