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LSU running back Derrius Guice (5) gets a handshake from coach Ed Orgeron as he comes off the field against Texas A&M on Nov. 25, 2017 in Tiger Stadium.

Rather than testify this week, LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron instead sent the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children a letter Tuesday that said he spoke on the phone in December 2017 with a man who said a woman who had been "disrespected" by Derrius Guice wanted the star running back kept out of the upcoming Citrus Bowl.

The coach is one of 10 people summoned to appear before the committee Thursday amid a burgeoning scandal over LSU's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct, many of them involving well-known athletes.

Of the 10, Orgeron is one of three so far who has opted to instead provide a written statement instead of testifying. The committee's chair, state Sen. Regina Barrow, D-Baton Rouge, called the coach's decision "troubling" in a statement late Tuesday, saying that it won't help the committee get to the bottom of what happened. A fourth official summoned, Executive Deputy Athletic Director Verge Ausberry, has said he will be out of town and unable to testify when the committee meets Thursday. Ausberry has not offered a written statement in place of testimony.

The other two who sent letters Tuesday rather than testify are Athletic Director Scott Woodward and Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar. 

While letters sent to the committee are considered testimony, it is typical for LSU officials to appear in person when requested, given that the Legislature oversees and votes on budget issues that impact higher education. As Barrow noted, lawmakers who have further questions will not be able to ask them of those who don't appear. 

The letter Orgeron released Tuesday seeks to clear up a specific dispute: whether or not he spoke with Gloria Scott, the Superdome security guard who complained of harassment by Guice.

Orgeron's letter said the man he spoke with in 2017 refused to put Scott on the phone unless Orgeron agreed to the terms up front. Orgeron said he told the man he'd get back to him, and ultimately decided he was not prepared to suspend Guice.

Audio recordings, text messages and police reports show that a New Orleans youth basketball coach, Cleavon Williams, a friend of Scott's, told athletic department officials in 2017 that Scott would go public with her story if the university did not pay her $100,000 or keep Guice out of the Citrus Bowl.

But Williams told The Advocate | Times-Picayune on Tuesday that he did not speak with Orgeron.

"I have no recollection," Williams said. "I never had a conversation with Ed Orgeron."

The incident between Guice and Scott didn't become public knowledge until February, when a probe of LSU's handling of sexual misconduct cases by the law firm Husch Blackwell was released. The firm's report cited an LSU Student Advocacy and Accountability report that detailed allegations that Guice had sexually harassed a Superdome employee.

At the Senate committee's last hearing, Scott, now 74, revealed she was the woman in the report. Through tears, she recalled she was at her post when Guice approached her with several other young men. Guice told her, "I want you to f--- me" and touched himself, she said.

Scott also told the committee that Orgeron later tried to defuse the incident by calling her and asking her to forgive Guice. Her granddaughter backed up that account in an interview with USA Today, saying she recognized Orgeron's distinctive Cajun "frog voice."

Before issuing the letter Tuesday, Orgeron had already said he didn't recall talking to Scott. 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 having any direct communication with the alleged victim," saying Segar "told us about the incident," and that an LSU attorney "did an investigation" and he was "not sure what happened."

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"As I told them," Orgeron told WNXX-FM last week, "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."

Orgeron's letter stresses that he is not positive about his recollection, and that he is not calling Scott a liar.

"That is my remembrance from three years ago of a telephone call that I do not believe lasted much longer than two minutes, if that, and is admittedly vague," Orgeron wrote. "At the same time, it is important to say, that me speaking to Ms. Scott directly or not, does not change the fact that what happened to Ms. Scott in 2017 is unequivocally wrong."

Orgeron said that "sometime in December 2017" an athletic department representative told him that Guice had "disrespected an older woman." Orgeron wrote that he believed that if Guice "was disrespectful, he should apologize."

Orgeron recalled calling a number, "and a gentleman answered. I do not recall the gentleman giving me his name."

Orgeron said he identified himself and told the man Guice was in the room so that "Guice could apologize to Ms. Scott." The man said Scott instead wanted Guice to be benched.

Scott insisted in a Monday interview with The Advocate | Times-Picayune on Monday that she spoke with Orgeron herself.

“If I had a chance to see him face to face, I would tell him he knows he’s lying," Scott said. "He knows he talked to me and begged me to talk to Derrius … I don't know how Coach could not know or remember anything when he called me."

Guice ultimately played in the Citrus Bowl and played two seasons in the NFL before the Washington Football Team waived him in August after he was arrested and charged in three separate domestic-violence incidents.

Woodward attended the committee's last hearing, which lasted seven hours and was cut short before he testified. On Tuesday, he, like Orgeron, sent the committee a letter in lieu of appearing Thursday. His letter attached a list of actions that LSU is taking to address problems, and repeated previous statements that LSU's "commitment to change will be more than a statement."

Segar, meanwhile, was one of two employees LSU disciplined in the wake of the release of the Husch Blackwell report. LSU suspended her for 21 days after the firm found that she committed an error in 2016 by keeping Guice's name off a report of rape from a member of LSU's swimming and diving team.

Guice was eventually accused of sexual misconduct by four women, including Scott, during his time at LSU. The swimming and diving team member was the first to accuse him. His attorney has denied wrongdoing from his time at LSU.

Segar returned to work last week. Her high-powered Baton Rouge attorney, Mary Olive Pierson, submitted a letter on her behalf Tuesday, saying Segar wouldn't be testifying and adding that Segar was badly misrepresented in the Husch Blackwell report.

"What seems to be missing in this current atmosphere of accusations and denials is an obvious misunderstanding or intentional denial of Ms. Segar's job responsibilities by the firm hired by LSU to 'investigate' the issues regarding sexual misconduct reporting in the athletic department of LSU," Pierson wrote.

Pierson wrote that she advised Segar not to testify before the committee based on her own "potential and serious claims against Husch Blackwell" and based on the likelihood that she will be named as a defendant in a lawsuit from another Athletic Department official, Sharon Lewis. Lewis on Tuesday announced her plans to file suit, though she has not done so yet. 

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.