In November, USA Today released the results of an investigation into Louisiana State University's handling of Title IX cases, specifically involving LSU football players. The article provides several examples of how LSU staff mishandled accusations of sexual misconduct against student-athletes and non-athletes. Following this article, the LSU student newspaper, Reveille, published a timeline of sexual misconduct cases involving LSU football players, going back to 2011.
In response to the USA Today article and attention from other media outlets, LSU interim President Tom Galligan posted a statement on Twitter, saying that LSU takes sexual misconduct allegations seriously and announcing that the university had hired an independent law firm to do an investigation of LSU's Title IX policies and processes.
The Repercussions of Mishandling Cases
The USA Today article suggests that LSU staff weren't following proper Title IX protocol. When university employees aren't fully aware of sexual misconduct policies or choose to ignore them, it hurts more than the accuser. A mishandled Title IX case will eventually come back to haunt the accused as well, with far worse consequences.
Of course, the immediate effects of a sexual misconduct violation are damaging as well, such as suspension or expulsion from the university. But there are negative long-term effects too. There is no statute of limitations on sexual misconduct cases at universities, meaning someone can accuse you of sexual misconduct committed several years ago, and the university must process the case. You could receive a Title IX violation even if you no longer attend the university.
In the case of LSU, the fact there's no time limit on sexual misconduct allegations has been problematic for some of the high-profile football players who were accused. One student mentioned in the USA Today investigation, Grant Delpit, wasn't even aware of the 2017 police report and Title IX complaint lodged against him until the USA Today article appeared in November 2020. Although it may be unwelcome news, most students would like to know if there's a sexual misconduct case against them.
Consulting a Title IX Defense Attorney
By consistently not following procedure regarding sexual misconduct complaints, the actions of LSU staff inspired an investigation, ultimately putting media attention on the football players accused of sexual misconduct. If LSU staff had reported relevant cases to the Title IX Office, it would have saved reputational damage to both the accusers and the accused. By trying to protect only a single group of students, LSU has instead denied justice to all students involved in sexual misconduct cases at the university.
As soon as you find out you may be the subject of a Title IX investigation at your university, it's imperative to consult a student defense legal advisor. Students may have external advisors with them at Title IX proceedings to help them understand and protect their rights. Attorney Joseph D. Lento of Lento Law Firm has helped countless students across the country defend themselves in sexual misconduct cases. Call the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 to speak directly with an experienced Title IX lawyer.