LSU releases unredacted police report, five months after USA TODAY sued for access to it

Louisiana State University on Friday released an unredacted police report to the woman who filed it, five months after she and USA TODAY sued to get a copy of it.

Samantha Brennan’s police report was the last of multiple records USA TODAY had sued to get access to.

“First, thank you the to the Louisiana Women’s Caucus for demanding the release of this unredacted police report,” Brennan said in a statement. “This is just another step in a long fight for justice, and to make sure that no victim has to endure this type of treatment again.”

An East Baton Rouge Parish District Court judge had ruled in January that Brennan and USA TODAY were entitled to the full report, without names or details blacked out. But LSU appealed the ruling.

Samantha Brennan, a former LSU student, was indecently photographed by LSU football player Derrius Guise without her consent after a night of drinking. The picture of Brennan circulated the LSU football locker room and a coworker of Brennan's eventually informed her of the image. Brennan filed a police report but was never contacted by LSU's Title IX office. She's now suing the police department for full access to the report. (Photo: Allison Zaucha for USA TODAY)

LSU has come under heavy criticism for its widespread mishandling of sexual misconduct complaints, and the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus on Friday released a statement saying “we strongly demand” that Brennan’s unredacted police report be released. Interim LSU president Thomas Galligan has apologized for LSU’s failings and promised transparency and, within hours, Brennan had a copy of the police report.

“Thank you to President Galligan for having this change of heart and having the courage to admit that LSU was completely wrong in failing to produce this report,” Brennan said. “We have every intention of pursuing the remainder of our judgment against LSU for attorney’s fees and arbitrary and capricious damages.”

USA TODAY and Brennan, a former student who worked part-time in LSU’s football recruiting office, sued LSU in October after it refused to turn over her full police report. It gave her instead a one-page, four-sentence “initial report.” It lacked numerous details, including Guice’s name and the facts of her complaint against him.

Brennan had reported Guice to campus police in July 2016, after she was told that Guice had taken a partially nude photograph of her without her knowledge and shared it with others on the football team.

Brennan initially shared the allegations with two top athletic department administrators: her then-boss, football recruiting director Sharon Lewis, and senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar. It was Segar, Brennan said, who encouraged her to file a police report and accompanied her to the police station to do so.

Federal and university Title IX policies required all employees who learned of sexual misconduct allegations to report them to the school’s Title IX coordinator, who must conduct an initial investigation. That did not happen in Brennan’s case – Brennan said that no one from the Title IX office ever reached out to her about an investigation or to offer support services.

LSU President Tom Galligan testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children at the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, LA. Wednesday, March 10, 2021. (Photo: Scott Clause, USA TODAY Network)

After Brennan read USA TODAY’s August investigation about two students’ rape allegations against Guice that went uninvestigated by LSU, she contacted the reporters to say she, too, had an incident with Guice. On Aug. 19, Brennan called the LSU police department and requested a copy of her police report.

After several delays, LSU sent her the one-page summary. When Brennan asked for the rest of the file, two LSU officials told her she could not have it because the statute of limitations in the case had not expired.

USA TODAY had previously asked LSU for copies of all campus police reports involving Guice. In response, LSU provided reports for two non-criminal incidents involving him, but did not provide Brennan’s report nor mention its existence.

LSU eventually released a redacted version of Brennan's police report to her and USA TODAY, but that version omitted names, including that of Guice.

Both Brennan and USA TODAY continued to press for the full, unredacted report. A judge sided with USA TODAY that it should be released, but LSU appealed. 

The case is now over. 

Source: Read Full Article