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LSU settles sexual misconduct lawsuit involving former athletes


BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU and 10 former students who sued the school over alleged mishandling of sexual assault and domestic violence complaints against football players and others at Louisiana’s flagship state university have settled the case.

“The Court has been advised that the parties in this matter have settled all of their claims and have agreed to amicably resolve this dispute,” US District Judge Wendy Vitter wrote in a March 28 order dismissing the case.

Settlement terms have not been disclosed.

Four of the the plaintiffs in the 2021 civil case accused former star running back Derrius Guice of sexual misconduct. Another plaintiff, former LSU women’s tennis player Jade Lewis, said LSU failed to properly respond to reports that she was being beaten by former Tigers receiver Drake Davis while the two were in a relationship.

The lawsuit centered on federal Title IX laws which ban gender-based discrimination, harassment or violence.

The allegations from female students dating back about a decade caught up with former university leaders after they’d left the school.

Former LSU football coach Les Miles and ex-university President F. King Alexander were run out of subsequent jobs elsewhere.

Miles, who won a national title while coaching at LSU from 2005 to 2016, lost his job at Kansas in 2021.

Oregon State fired Alexander as its president. He had the same job at LSU when allegations that Miles made improper sexual advances toward female students working in the football office were kept private by the university and its law firm in 2013 — despite a recommendation by then-athletic director Joe Alleva that Miles be fired.

LSU hired the Husch Blackwell law firm to review the university’s handling of sexual misconduct complaints and its report was widely circulated in 2021.

The firm’s 148-page findings addressed problems campus-wide, also looking, for example, at complaints against fraternity members. But the higher-profile complaints involved football players including Guice, who in 2020 was cut by his NFL club in Washington following a domestic violence arrest.

Husch Blackwell concluded that LSU had come up short in committing resources to Title IX compliance and instead tended to offer more resistance than help to those who reported sexual misconduct or abuse.

Allegations of sexual misconduct or physical abuse were reportedly filed against nine players who competed under Ed Orgeron, who succeeded Miles as coach during the 2016 season.

Orgeron coached LSU to an unbeaten record and national championship in the 2019 season.

Some of the accused players were punished and ultimately left LSU, but others, including Guice, left the school in good standing and were selected in the NFL draft.

The Husch Blackwell review aimed criticism more at LSU administrators, noting that coaches generally lack the expertise to handle sexual misconduct complaints and should refer them to Title IX compliance officials.

The most severe punishment handed down to current LSU employees were suspensions of about a month to deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry and senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar. They were found to have mishandled multiple sexual misconduct complaints.

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