A suspended LSU football player has filed a federal complaint against the university, claiming he was unjustly suspended after being accused of sexual misconduct, court documents say.
The Title IX complaint was filed in the Middle District of Louisiana by the player's attorneys, Susan Stone and Kristina Supler, on Thursday morning. It alleges the player's "constitutional rights were violated," that "he was given no access to the evidence against him until after his guilt was already determined," and "he was denied his right to confront and cross-examine his accuser and other witnesses."
The documents said that, under LSU's disciplinary process, "a student may never be able to review the evidence against him until after important decisions with precedential value have been made."
The process, the documents said, led to the LSU player being suspended for at least one year, which led to his removal from the football team and the loss of his scholarship.
The documents do not state the player's name, referring to him as "John Doe."
The player is described as a resident of Alabama who was informed of his suspension in February.
"Unfortunately, we're not at liberty to disclose our client's name," Supler said in an interview with The Advocate. "It's the way to protect the privacy of all the students involved in the matter. And, really, our battle is with LSU."
LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard said the university will not comment on pending litigation.
Stone and Supler said they are hoping to get a judge to force LSU to give the player a chance to "have the hearing that he deserves and an opportunity to really clear his name."
The player was initially suspended in February, a decision that was upheld after a series of appeals and fully implemented as a one-year suspension, effective May 10.
The attorneys are requesting that LSU vacate its decision to suspend the player, reinstate him as a member of the football team, restore his full athletic scholarship and remove the case from his academic record.
On Feb. 4, the documents said, LSU informed the player it was investigating an allegation that he engaged in "non-consensual sexual intercourse."
The notice "did not identify the complainant, provide a location where the alleged incident occurred, or provide any details describing the alleged conduct that formed the basis of the investigation."
In this, the documents said, the player's rights "pursuant to LSU policy" were violated because a student "has a right to know the specific allegations against him."
The documents said the event allegedly occurred on Jan. 23 and Jan. 24.
The player became aware of the complaint on Feb. 6, the documents said, when LSU coach Ed Orgeron informed him. Orgeron, the documents said, told the player "while he did not know anything about the complaint," the player "would have to be suspended from the football team until the matter was resolved."
School officials told the player that, while he could still attend classes, "he could not be associated with the football team while the matter was ongoing," the documents said.
The documents said LSU officials told the player "that this was not a criminal matter, the police would not be involved, and that there would not be an arrest."
But, the documents said, "the police in fact were contacted the night of the incident, specifically both the LSU Police Department and the Baton Rouge Police Department," which the player "did not learn until months later."
The player's attorneys said he also was not truly afforded the opportunity to present his case in an accountability meeting with a hearing officer appointed by LSU Associate Dean of Students Jonathan Sanders. Such a meeting is LSU policy, the documents said, when information is received to support an alleged violation.
In such a meeting on April 24, the documents said, Sanders "only asked personal questions relating to" the player's "future and his goals" rather than giving the player "an opportunity to explain his side of the story."