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LSU's Tiger Stadium and its end zone signage sits illuminated late Tuesday night, February 20, 2018, on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Law firm Husch Blackwell will meet with LSU leadership Wednesday to begin its investigation into the school's handlings of sexual and domestic assault cases.

In an open letter to the LSU community, interim president Tom Galligan and athletic director Scott Woodward said they anticipate the firm's findings to be complete in February. They said the report will be released publicly upon its conclusion.

"Accountability matters," the letter said, "and if Husch Blackwell finds that any wrongdoing was done by individuals or the university itself, we will take the appropriate steps at that time."

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Galligan announced the hiring of the law firm hours after USA Today published an investigation Nov. 16 that revealed extensive failures at LSU to respond to reports of sexual assaults and violence.

The investigation found that school administrators and athletic department officials repeatedly ignored complaints against abusers, denied victims their requests for protections and "subjected them to further harm by known perpetrators."

USA Today said records show at least nine LSU football players have been reported to police for sexual misconduct and dating violence since Ed Orgeron became head coach in 2016. The investigation also included multiple reported mishandlings of cases with non-athletes.

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It also came to light that a former LSU football player, Drake Davis, admitted to hitting his girlfriend in a text he sent to executive deputy director of athletics Verge Ausberry, who was required by both university and federal policies to act on that information and report it to others.

Ausberry has since said that he called Davis and the wide receiver retracted his confession. Still, Ausberry acknowledged that he made no further attempt to report Davis to police, the university's Title IX office or anyone else.

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Jade Lewis, a former LSU tennis star, has since revealed herself for the first time and spoken out about the increasingly violent physical abuse from Davis. Her parents released a statement Sunday that they were "astonished" by how LSU administrators failed to respond.

Hundreds of LSU students marched through campus Friday afternoon in a protest, led by the student-run Tigers Against Sexual Assault, which demanded that the university clean house and stop protecting students who commit sexual assaults.

Samantha Brennan, a former LSU student featured in the USA Today investigation, was among those who spoke to the crowd. She has accused former LSU star running back Derrius Guice of taking a partially nude photo of her and sharing it without her permission.

Brennan has repeatedly requested copies of the report she made to LSU Police about the incident at the time. On Monday, she testified in a court hearing over LSU's refusal to provide her the full and unredacted police reports.

Nineteenth Judicial District Judge Janice Clark issued no ruling on Monday, and she requested that each side submit briefs in seven days before she announces a decision.

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In Wednesday's open letter, Galligan and Woodward said they are meeting with the Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) group "in the coming days," and they said they've reached out to several student organizations devoted to assault prevention and victims' right and advocacy.

STAR released a statement last week that said the organization has repeatedly offered to assist LSU in developing and improving its responses to sexual assault on campus, but, over several years, their requests have been mostly ignored.

LSU also shared a memo Wednesday morning with the university's leadership reinforcing that every LSU employee is required to report knowledge of a sexual or domestic assault to the Title IX office.

"The work ahead will not be easy," the letter said, "but we owe it to all victims of sexual or domestic violence to carefully examine how we do things and to make the necessary changes."

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Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.