LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday morning that he does not remember speaking to Gloria Scott, a 74-year-old who testified Friday that Orgeron rejected her request to punish LSU's then-star running back Derrius Guice after he allegedly sexually harassed her while she was working at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2017.
The head coach's response is the first time he's talked about the accusation since Scott's testimony raised questions about whether Orgeron lied to investigators who probed the incident as part of a sweeping investigation into LSU's failure to handle reports of sexual harassment, rape and abuse on campus.
State lawmakers who heard Scott's testimony were furious about her allegations and demanded Orgeron testify at a subsequent hearing. It is unclear whether the committee has officially set a hearing for another date, or if Orgeron has been formally asked to testify.
Scott detailed the incident through tears before the state Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, recalling she was at her post in December 2017 working a high school football game when Guice and several other young men approached her. Guice then repeatedly sexually harassed her, Scott said, telling her "I want you to f--- me."
Scott said she contacted LSU, and she alleged Orgeron and other LSU officials, including Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, rejected her request that Guice be held out of the 2018 Citrus Bowl. Guice played in the game.
After reporting the incident to the university, Scott said Orgeron called her, with Guice apparently in the room, to try to gain forgiveness. She said Orgeron told her Guice was a "troubled child," and that he was "just kidding." Orgeron asked her to "please forgive him," she said. Scott said Orgeron tried to put Guice on to apologize, but she refused to speak with him.
LSU released a statement Friday that said Orgeron "never had any direct communications with the complainant" and that Orgeron "has and will continue to follow university protocols regarding reporting."
Orgeron stated to WNXX-FM, 104.5's "Off the Bench" Tuesday that when he watched Scott's testimony, it was the first time he'd heard of "all the horrible details" of her encounter with Guice and that he is "sickened by what she went through."
Orgeron said he "completely cooperated" with Husch Blackwell investigators and will "continue to cooperate" with LSU's internal investigation.
"As I told them," Orgeron said, "I truthfully do not remember speaking with Ms. Scott three years ago. But I do know Ms. Scott deserves to be heard and admired for her courage. I have been, and I will continue to be committed to a culture of integrity and compliance."
There were no follow-up questions on the program, a scheduled weekly interview in which Orgeron often gives updates on the football team.
Orgeron was asked to repeat his statement during a news conference Tuesday evening, and he said the details of Scott's testimony "made me sick" and were "100% unacceptable."
Orgeron declined to answer whether he wished he'd done anything differently with Guice at the time, and he also declined to say whether the senate committee has formally asked him to participate in a future hearing or if there were plans yet for him to attend one.
"Again," Orgeron said, "I said what I had to say this morning and I'm going to let the university handle the rest of the questions."
State Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, who leads the committee, did not respond to attempts for comment Tuesday night, and two LSU officials were not yet aware of any formal requests.
LSU athletic director Scott Woodward attended Friday's hearing, which concluded after more than seven hours of testimony, but was cut short before Woodward was scheduled to appear. He is expected to testify at a future hearing.
The law firm Husch Blackwell reported some of the details of Scott's story. But the firm was "not able to identify 'the coach' " who allegedly called Scott on Guice's behalf. The report said Orgeron denied to investigators that he had any direct communication with the alleged victim, saying Segar "told us about the incident," that an LSU attorney "did an investigation" and he was "not sure what happened."
According to an incident report from the school’s Student Advocacy and Accountability office cited by Husch Blackwell, the unnamed coach told the woman “that Derrius was probably just kidding around and that Derrius came from a broken home,” before “dismissing” her.
Scott’s granddaughter told USA Today she was present during the call and could hear Orgeron’s “deep, Cajun ‘frog voice.’ ”
Upon Scott's Friday testimony, lawmakers on the committee grilled LSU leaders about Guice’s alleged harassment of Scott and the school’s failure to take action. State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, who is running for Congress, pressed the attorney for LSU’s Board of Supervisors on Orgeron’s claims.
“We will speak to Ms. Scott and speak to Coach O and we’ll get you an answer,” the attorney, Winston Decuir, said. “If he lied, we’ll deal with Coach O.”
Rep. Paula Davis, R-Baton Rouge, called the allegations “disgusting” and “gut-wrenching.”
Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, demanded Orgeron testify before the committee.
“How could anyone think Ms. Scott was saying anything but the truth?” Freeman said. “What reason would she have to come sit before us and make up that she spoke to somebody?”
“If my daughter was applying to LSU right now, she would not be going,” Freeman said.
No plans for future testimony with the senate committee were discussed during Orgeron's radio interview Tuesday morning.
"It is 100% unacceptable," Orgeron told WNXX. "I'm devastated that it happened to her. I want Ms. Scott, her family and the others to know that."
Staff writer Sam Karlin contributed to this story.