The U.S. Department of Education announced it is launching a second investigation into LSU’s reported mishandling of sexual misconduct cases.
The federal agency’s Office for Civil Rights notified LSU of the Title IX compliance investigation in a letter dated March 31, which was first obtained by USA Today.
“There has been extensive media coverage of the university’s potential mishandling of complaints of sexual assault, including allegations that university officials ignored sexual assault allegations made against former athletes,” the spokesperson said.
The department will be analyzing LSU’s handling of student complaints of sexual assault and harassment from the 2018-2019 academic year to the present. This is the second investigation from the federal agency since February, which is when the Department of Education notified the university they would be conducting a far-reaching probe of LSU’s compliance with federal campus safety laws.
At the time, a spokesperson told LSU that it received complaints alleging “a pattern of conduct that resulted in serious violations of the Clery Act.” However, this new case was opened “in light of recent reports describing students’ allegations that the University mishandled their complaints of sexual assault and harassment.”
The Husch Blackwell report was listed among the documents the agency requested from LSU. The university’s failure to comply with Title IX requirements to report and investigate incidents of sexual misconduct came to light after the school released the Husch Blackwell report. This document included sexual misconduct allegations against former head football coach Les Miles, who recently parted ways with Kansas amid the fallout.
While the law firm analyzed the entire university, Husch Blackwell specifically found that the LSU athletic department did not properly respond to the accounts about Miles. The law firm’s report said that former athletic director Joe Alleva recommended Miles be fired for cause in 2013, citing “insubordination, inappropriate behavior, putting the university, athletic dept. and football program at great risk.”
Also on Tuesday, Sharon Lewis, LSU’s associate athletic director of football recruiting and alumni relations, will be filing a $50 million Title IX lawsuit against the school, according to state and federal lawsuits filed this week, first reported by USA Today.
She alleges “a RICO Act conspiracy to cover up Title IX complaints,” according to USA Today, and that she was a victim of harassment and retaliation for reporting Miles’s sexual harassment.
Earlier on Tuesday, LSU’s Ed Orgeron released a statement on Tuesday in lieu of testifying before the Louisiana Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, which is holding hearings about the university’s mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations.
In the written letter, the head football coach said ex-LSU star running back Derrius Guice’s alleged sexual harassment is “utterly unacceptable.” However, he denied ever speaking to Gloria Scott, who testified before the committee on March 26.
Scott, a 74-year-old who worked part-time security at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, testified that Orgeron knew about Guice’s actions and lied to investigators about it.