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LSU coach Ed Orgeron discusses the Tigers' signing class during a news conference in the Lawton Room in Tiger Stadium on Wednesday Feb. 5, 2020.

LSU football coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday he was "deeply saddened" by the findings in the Husch Blackwell investigation into how the university has handled allegations of rape and dating violence.

The 150-page report led LSU interim President Tom Galligan to announce appropriate changes to policies and bolstering the university's Title IX staff, plus suspending executive deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar without pay for 30 and 21 days, respectively.

The troubling report detailed a "failure of leadership" at LSU, which did not appropriately staff or fund its Title IX office. Former LSU coach Les Miles was also let go by Kansas late Monday night, days after the school placed him on administrative leave after the report showed a pattern of "inappropriate behavior" with female students at LSU.

Husch Blackwell also investigated cases involving 10 different LSU football players accused of sexual misconduct in recent years, nine of whom played under Orgeron.

“Obviously was deeply saddened and disappointed about what it revealed," Orgeron said in a Tuesday morning interview with 104.5 ESPN's "Off the Bench." "But myself and our staff are committed to fully implementing the protocols described by the university and the experts it retained. It’s a very serious matter.”

In one significant case, Husch Blackwell found Ausberry didn't appropriately report former LSU wide receiver Drake Davis when he received a 2018 message from the player, who texted Ausberry that he'd punched his girlfriend, former LSU tennis player Jade Lewis.

Davis, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to battery after multiple allegations of abuse, met with Title IX investigators in June 2018 within a dating violence case. Investigator Jeffery Scott wrote a note after an interview with Davis on June 5, 2018, that said "Segar also stated she would inform Coach Orgeron."

Segar was asked by Husch Blackwell investigators if she'd ever informed Orgeron of the development, and she said she didn't "know whether I specifically talked to Coach about Drake, other than to say here are the issues, they are being investigated."

Orgeron also didn't recall any specific communication with Segar regarding the outcome of the investigation or the counseling directive, he told investigators, but he did recall Segar telling him something along the lines of, "Coach, Drake needs to stay away from that girl."

Orgeron suspended Davis indefinitely on Aug. 18, 2018, when the former wide receiver was arrested after allegations he beat and put his hands around the neck of his ex-girlfriend multiple times in the span of about 16 months.

When asked at a post-scrimmage news conference at the time if Orgeron or anyone at LSU knew about the allegations before the arrest, Orgeron declined to answer.

In another case, a woman dating former LSU running back Derrius Guice told USA Today he raped her in early 2016. She was dating an LSU football recruit at the time of the alleged assault, and the recruit told USA Today that in the spring of 2017, Orgeron brought up the subject about Guice and his then-girlfriend and told him, "Everybody's girlfriend sleeps with other people."

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Husch Blackwell said Orgeron "credibly denied the allegation" in his interview with investigators, who found that he'd learned that the player was considering transferring. In trying to figure out why he wanted to transfer, Orgeron said he learned the player's "girlfriend was cheating on him and the team was teasing him."

Orgeron said no one ever told him Guice was accused of raping the player's girlfriend, and he told investigators that he only told the player, "what I would have told my son. I said, 'you're not the only person who has this problem, there is a solution."

Husch Blackwell investigators noted they tried "several times" to reach the player on the phone number they were provided, but each call went to a voicemail that had not been programmed to receive messages.

Guice was involved in another allegation in December 2017, when a 70-year-old security guard alleged that the player had "aggressively sexually harassed" her at a high school football game in New Orleans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Sharon Lewis, an associate athletic director over the last several years, told Husch Blackwell investigators that the woman "and/or" her legal representative began calling the football operations office demanding to speak with Orgeron regarding the alleged incident.

Lewis reported the incident to Segar and Ausberry, but there was no record, however, that LSU's Title IX office ever investigated. The alleged victim and/or representative called LSU's Student Advocacy and Accountability office directly on Dec. 19, 2017, and, according to the incident report, spoke with an unnamed coach.

Her supervisor had called the "Coach at LSU," the incident report said, who told her supervisor that "Derrius was probably just kidding around and that Derrius came from a broken home." The supervisor said "she did not care and that he should be punished for his behavior." The unnamed coach asked what she wanted, "an apology?", and she told him she wanted "Derrius to sit out" of the upcoming bowl game.

"He dismissed her and no one has returned her calls or done anything," the incident report said.

Guice played in the 2018 Citrus Bowl, and Orgeron had just finished his first full season as LSU's head football coach.

Husch Blackwell said they were unable to identify who the coach was referenced in the incident report. In an interview with investigators, Orgeron denied having any direct communications with the alleged victim, saying Segar "told us about the incident" and that Segar, Ausberry and a university attorney "did an investigation."

Orgeron was "not sure what happened" after that, the Husch Blackwell report said.


Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.