A USA Today report on Monday alleges that several LSU officials had knowledge of sexual assault allegations made against former running back Derrius Guice and other former football players and 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.
The report details assault allegations made against former wide receiver Drake Davis by an LSU tennis player, including the allegation that the victim's tennis coach, Mike Sell, was informed that Davis had punched the woman in the stomach but did not report the assault to the school or the Title IX coordinator. The report states that LSU "sat on the information for months, while Davis continued to assault and strangle her."
In 2018, Davis was arrested on second-degree battery charges and was indefinitely suspended by the team. The arrest warrant said that Davis, who enrolled at Southern University in October 2019, was alleged to have committed battery on a woman he was dating on four occasions over a period of roughly 13 months.
USA Today reports that at least nine football players, including Guice and Davis, have been reported to police for sexual misconduct and dating violence since Ed Orgeron was promoted to interim head coach in 2016. Orgeron was later promoted to full-time head coach, and he led the team to a national championship last season.
Reading from a prepared statement at the beginning of his weekly news conference on Monday afternoon, Orgeron said that he wanted to address the USA Today article.
"First, I want to say that we need to support and protect victims of violence and sexual abuse of any kind," Orgeron said. "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 today that the university is working to address our policies and processes when allegations arise."
Orgeron closed his statement by saying, "That is all I'm going to say at this time." He declined to answer questions about the article.
LSU punter Zach Von Rosenberg took to Twitter to defend his coach earlier in the day in a tweet that has since been 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."
"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," LSU told USA Today in a statement. "Putting an end to sexual assault is an institutional priority, and we are constantly working to achieve that goal."
In a statement, LSU interim president Tom Galligan wrote that the university "takes every report of sexual assault or violence seriously" and noted that the school investigates each and tries to support those affected.
"However, we are not perfect, and we can, and will, do better," he wrote. "A single instance of abuse or sexual violence is one too many."
Galligan said LSU has hired independent law firm Husch Blackwell to review the university's Title IX policies and procedures. He also urged any victims of abuse who either didn't report it or did and believe the complaints weren't handled correctly to contact LSU's Title IX office.
USA Today previously reported on allegations made against Guice, who was accused of rape by two former LSU students. Guice was released by the Washington Football Team on Aug. 7 after he was arrested on three separate domestic violence charges in Virginia.
According to the latest report, LSU acknowledged formally disciplining two of the nine athletes accused of sexual misconduct and dating violence: Davis and quarterback Peter Parrish.
Parrish was accused of raping a woman outside a bar earlier this year and was suspended indefinitely by LSU. In August, Parrish announced that he had transferred to Memphis.
LSU attorney Johanna Posada confirmed to USA Today that four athletes were not disciplined: safety Grant Delpit, who was accused of recording a woman during sex without her knowledge and sharing the video with others, and running back Tae Provens, linebacker Jacob Phillips and tight end Zach Sheffer, who were all accused of rape.