Former LSU soccer head coach Les Miles reached a settlement with a former student who accused him of harassment several years ago, and the settlement has emerged as investigators investigate the university’s handling of allegations of sexual misconduct. and domestic violence, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation. have confirmed The Advocate | The Times-Picayune.
The episode dates back roughly a decade, when a former intern at LSU’s Sports Department accused Miles of “flirting with her,” three of the sources said.
“As part of the Husch Blackwell review and our internal investigations, we have heard about an agreement, but LSU is not a party to it and we have not seen it,” said Jim Sabourin, vice president of strategic communications at the university, when introduced the accusations on Wednesday. Husch Blackwell is the law firm LSU hired to examine the university’s handling of sexual misconduct and other complaints.
Contacted by phone Wednesday, Miles denied making any advances toward an intern. “That is not true,” he said.
Miles, who was married at the time and still is, did not directly address questions about the deal. A veteran attorney for Miles, New York-based Peter Ginsberg, said in an email Wednesday that a description of Miles’s agreement with the student was “perceptibly incomplete and inaccurate, and its post would recklessly cast Mr. Miles in a false light. ” Ginsberg did not immediately respond to follow-up questions about whether he was denying the existence of the agreement itself.
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The long-buried settlement, which does not appear in Baton Rouge court records searches, has come to light amid a broader review of how LSU has handled allegations of sexual misconduct and domestic violence cases, the sources said. Husch Blackwell is expected to deliver a report late next week examining how LSU has handled a number of cases over the years, including allegations of sexual assault and domestic violence involving LSU soccer players. Some of those incidents occurred under Miles’ command; others happened after current head coach Ed Orgeron took office in 2016.
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It’s unclear how prominent Miles’s allegations may appear in Husch Blackwell’s report, but the deal may have led to a broader review at the time of how Miles treated female students at the university. Eight years ago, Miles, now a head coach at the University of Kansas, was the subject of another investigation by a Baton Rouge law firm, court records show.
Miles has intervened in a Baton Rouge district court case in an effort to prevent LSU from publishing the law firm’s investigation into him.
Records show that USA Today, which released the initial story behind the Husch Blackwell investigation in November, filed a lawsuit against LSU last month. That was about a month after a newspaper reporter submitted a public records request to the university seeking an “investigative report from the law firm Taylor Porter on former LSU soccer coach Les Miles.”
Taylor Porter continues to represent LSU in a wide range of legal matters, including another recent public records lawsuit involving police reports naming former LSU soccer star Derrius Guice.
Alexandra Reyes thought she had a hermetic case of sexual misconduct for LSU to investigate.
LSU attorneys declined to release Taylor Porter’s report, saying doing so would deprive Miles of his constitutional right to privacy. They cited the Louisiana constitution, rather than the state’s public records law.
Shortly after USA Today filed a lawsuit against the university, Miles’s attorneys joined the case, records show. They described the Taylor Porter investigation as eight years.
“The records have little relevance to a legitimate matter of public concern,” wrote the attorneys representing Miles, J. Christopher Zainey Jr. and Ginsberg, based in New Orleans. “The internal investigation, based on information and belief, exonerated (Miles) of any wrongdoing, his employer at the time, LSU, found no basis to discipline or sanction (Miles) after his extensive investigation.”
At the time, Miles was near the peak of his popularity in Baton Rouge. He had maintained the show as an annual title contender, which included a BCS National Championship in the 2007 season, and his unique and quirky personality often kept him in the national spotlight.
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The Tigers fell one game away from a perfect season in 2011, losing to Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. Miles was named National Coach of the Year. Then, on January 1, 2013, LSU signed Miles to a seven-year contract extension worth $ 4.3 million per year, a deal that came to fruition after the Southeastern Conference rival Arkansas expressed interest. in hiring him outside of LSU.
The agreement and the Taylor Porter investigation came about the same time LSU was closing a long-term contract with Miles. LSU’s athletic department had announced in November 2012, days before the Tigers were scheduled to play Clemson at the Chick-fil-A Bowl, that a new contract was in the works. Miles was recently named 2011 National Coach of the Year by The Associated Press.
“The coaching business is competitive and it is important to reward our coach for his accomplishments and courage,” former LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said in a statement at the time.
Alleva did not return calls Wednesday.
Miles’s salary, funded largely by taxpayers, and celebrity status were among the reasons USA Today’s attorneys argued that Taylor Porter’s report should be released to the public.
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“There can be no doubt that Miles is a public figure paid by public subsidy, in whom the public interest is great,” argued USA Today attorney Scott Sternberg in court documents. Sternberg also often represents this newspaper on legal matters, but The Advocate | The Times-Picayune is not involved in the Miles case.
Sternberg did not immediately return a call Wednesday.
Miles’s lawyers argued that the records are “very personal in nature” and said their disclosure would damage Miles’s reputation.
Miles’ attorneys asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order prohibiting LSU from releasing the investigation before the February 9 hearing. Baton Rouge District Judge Chip Moore agreed and later ruled that he would review the investigation to determine if it was subject to disclosure under public records laws.
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The court filings show that attorneys agreed that Moore would turn over parts that he considered public records to Sternberg during a state conference Tuesday. It’s unclear what, if anything, the judge released.
However, the judge’s decision could affect LSU and Husch Blackwell’s ability to reference the Taylor Porter investigation in their review. Court records show LSU remains under an order not to release Taylor Porter’s documents until Moore makes a decision.
Miles did not serve as a coach during the term of his contract. LSU fired him four games in the 2016 season, ending a four-year stretch of disappointing seasons that put Miles on shaky ground with school administrators and Tiger’s fan base. LSU was paying the remaining $ 9.6 million on Miles’s contract over a six-year period until November 2018, when Miles and the university agreed to a $ 1.5 lump sum settlement that freed him to work in Kansas.
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Despite the career consequences at LSU, Miles remains very popular nationally. He appeared in Dos Equis commercials following his 12-year career with LSU, and when Kansas hired Miles as its head coach in 2019, ESPN produced an 18-part documentary, “Miles to Go,” which featured its first season on Lawrence.
Kansas is 3-18 in Miles’s first two seasons, and his five-year contract worth about $ 2.75 million per year expires after the 2023 season.