Last week started with Samantha Brennan’s image being published in newspapers across the country as she spoke out for the first time, saying LSU had mishandled her 2016 report that star running back Derrius Guice had taken and shared a partially nude photo of her without her permission.

It ended with Brennan flying to Baton Rouge after her story helped galvanize hundreds of protesters who marched through LSU’s campus, demanding that university officials do more to prevent and punish sexual misconduct on campus. Brennan joined them, toting a sign that read, “Support Survivors.”

This week, Brennan will face the next chapter in her fight against LSU. She’s set to testify Monday afternoon in a court hearing over LSU’s refusal to release full, unredacted police reports that she filed after her encounter with Guice. After Brennan and USA Today, which broke her story this week, filed a public records lawsuit against the university, LSU released some police reports this week.

But the reports do not include Guice’s name, and LSU has continued to redact names of suspects, witnesses and victims in police reports that it has released to the public. Brennan called the reports that LSU did release to her — short on details, names blacked out — “a slap in the face.”

“I just want to show proof to everyone who doesn’t have proof,” Brennan told The Advocate.

She sees her 2016 police reports naming Guice as a key link in a larger web of women who have now accused him of sexual misconduct at LSU. A former LSU tennis player, who was also at the LSU protest and has chosen not to identify herself publicly, has also accused Guice of raping her when she was a student. The former tennis player said LSU has also refused to release records to her about that incident. A third woman also told USA Today in August that Guice raped her when they were at LSU together.

Guice’s attorney has denied the rape allegations. The 23-year-old running back, who was drafted in 2018 by the Washington Football Team, was arrested this August on domestic violence charges.

Brennan said she had a gut feeling that she needed to come forward with her story. She has the same intuition about pursuing her case against LSU.

“I wanted my report to surface to show there has been formal documentation to back up the allegation I made against Derrius Guice and proof that LSU higher-ups did not follow through with their legal obligations to investigate,” Brennan said. “The harder LSU has fought to keep me from my records, the harder I am fighting to obtain it.”

Court documents show Brennan repeatedly emailed LSU officials requesting any files related to the report she made on July 22, 2016. USA Today requested “any and all police reports involving Derrius Guice” as well.

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LSU told Brennan she could not receive the files because the statute of limitations to charge Guice in a possible video voyeurism case had yet to expire. But her attorney argues that’s a bogus claim, because there is no criminal litigation pending. And while LSU provided some police reports to USA Today, they failed to include any dealing with Brennan’s case, court filings say.

An LSU spokesman did not respond to recent questions from The Advocate about why the university continues to withhold the documents. But in court filings, LSU doubled down on its argument that answering the public records request could amount to an “invasion of privacy” and that the university could still “reasonably anticipate” a criminal case arising from Brennan’s allegations from four years ago.

The statute of limitations on Brennan's case runs for six years. The law does not carve out any special allowances for victims to access records, but agencies are also supposed to provide them when there's no "reasonably anticipated" criminal case. Based on the reports they've provided so far, LSU Police did not continue to investigate Brennan's case after her initial complaint, when she said she did not want to pursue pressing charges. 

"LSU has a long history of public records offenses, but this one takes the cake,” said Scott Sternberg, the attorney representing Brennan and USA Today in the public records lawsuit. Sternberg often represents The Advocate | Times-Picayune as well.

“To deny a victim the right to review her own investigation file is not only legally reprehensible, it's inhuman,” he added. “We have every intention of seeking arbitrary and capricious damages against LSU to the fullest extent of the law."

After Brennan discovered in 2016 that Guice shared the photo he took of her and followed up by filing a police report, she left LSU, where she once worked in the football recruiting office. The public records lawsuit she is pursuing with USA Today is scheduled for a hearing at 1 p.m. Monday in state Judge Janice Clark’s courtroom.

As Brennan and a crowd of more than 200 others protested on campus, many voiced concerns that LSU prioritizes star athletes over the safety of female students. The crowd chanted “kick them off the team” and signs displayed messages like “a jersey should not hold more weight than a woman.”

“I will not let LSU push me around anymore, and I want to make sure no one else will get treated like this,” Brennan said. “Enough is enough.”

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