A new report from USA Today reveals that Louisiana State University administrators remained silent about sexual abuse accusations even though many knew about the sexual and physical assault allegations against student athletes.
Freshman Running Back Derrius Guice Accused by Numerous Women
Two former LSU students recounted their experiences of sexual assault at the hands of star running back Derrius Guice, who was a freshman football player at the time of the alleged assault. Dating as far back as 2016, a member of the university’s diving team reported sexual assault by Guice. The student-athlete reported that her friend was raped by Guice after she passed out at a college party. A tennis player came forward the following year to report Guice had assaulted her as well. In yet another instance, a female student told athletic administrators that Guice had photographed her naked and had shared the photo with at least one other person. Despite allegations, Guice was not formally reprimanded by the university. Guice went on to play for the Washington Redskins.
Guice was let go from the NFL team in August 2020 after being arrested on three counts of domestic violence. A public statement from the Washington Redskins said in part: “upon review of the nature of these charges and following internal discussions, we have decided to release Derrius immediately.” Despite numerous allegations, Guice was never formally disciplined by the university and his attorney denies any abuse allegations.
Other LSU Football Players Accused
The USA Today investigation also shows the university ignored allegations against LSU football player Drake Davis. Davis’ girlfriend, who asked to remain anonymous during the investigation, reported that she was being physically abused and choked by Davis. Despite these reports, Davis was allowed to continue playing football.
The investigation further revealed that countless allegations against other LSU football players were also made during this time. Despite mounting evidence of abusive players on the team, only Davis and another player, Peter Parrish, were formally disciplined by LSU.
Elizabeth Taylor, a professor who studies sexual assault and harassment within athletic organizations, said the university has a tendency to show a, “pattern of continually mishandling these types of incidents.” The string of incidents at LSU is similar to the mishandling of abuse allegations at other universities like Baylor, Penn State, and Michigan State.
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Federal Law and Title IX Ignored
According to the USA Today report, although the university is required by federal law to report and investigate sexual misconduct, LSU failed to take any action against Guice. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title IX is “intended to enable school employees and officials to identify sexual harassment and to take steps to prevent its occurrence…the guidance is important because school personnel who understand their obligations under Title IX are in the best position to prevent harassment and to lessen the harm to students if, despite their best efforts, harassment occurs.”
The U.S Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights launched a sex-discrimination suit after one of the female accusers against Guice filed her own suit. The woman alleged that she was not informed of her Title IX rights. The U.S Department of Education suit was dropped three years later after investigators claimed she stopped working with law enforcement.
We Can Help
When abuse is reported to universities, these institutions have a legal obligation to seek justice and help for victims of abuse, whether the abuse is physical, emotional, sexual, or mental. When institutions like universities fail to fulfil their obligations, it not only harms the victims, it also makes universities less safe.
If you or a loved one have been abused while at a college or university and reported this abuse with no follow-up from the institution, you may be entitled to file a claim against those who did not fulfill their obligations. Reach out to our compassionate legal team to learn about your rights and allow us to advocate for you.