Sharon Lewis, LSU’s associate athletic director for football recruiting and alumni relations, is filing a $ 50 million Title IX lawsuit against the school, based on state and federal lawsuits filed this week, first reported by USA Today.
She alleges “a conspiracy by the RICO Act to cover up Title IX complaints,” according to USA Todayand that he was the victim of harassment and retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment of Les Miles.
“Members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, the LSU Athletic Department, LSU Leadership and his law firm, Taylor Porter, conspired to conceal the Les Miles sexual harassment investigation from federal officials and the public and to retaliate against Ms. Lewis, “attorney Tammye Brown said, according to WAFB’s Lester Duhe. “For the past eight years, Ms. Lewis has stood up to protect working students at LSU and, as a result, has suffered unimaginable retaliation sanctioned by the LSU Board of Supervisors.”
Before the news of the impending lawsuit, Lewis spoke with USA TodayKenny Jacoby on her experiences in the department, such as how Miles, athletic deputy executive director Verge Ausberry and athletic assistant director Miriam Segar “tormented her” after she reported the allegations against the former head coach.
“Lewis said Miles harassed and undermined her for years, trying to sexualize the group of student workers she supervised,” Jacoby wrote. “Ausberry verbally abused her, he said, and he and Segar lied to an LSU Title IX investigator to get her in trouble.”
Lewis revealed that retaliation still continues to this day.
“They can lie and admit they lied and go back to work,” Lewis said. saying on a Zoom call with USA Today. “I mean, it’s about … we have to set a standard there, that’s all.”
He also alleged that Miles “repeatedly pressed [her] to replace black student workers on his recruiting staff with blonde women or light-skinned black women whom he considered prettier. “
While she refused, Lewis said she was allegedly pressured by others later to comply with Miles’ requests.
“The Husch Blackwell Report (the Husch Report) documented how LSU orchestrated a retaliation against Ms. Lewis, including the mental breakdown and ongoing mental trauma she suffered as a result. Once LSU failed to silence Ms. Lewis, they laid the groundwork for perpetual retaliation and hostility to make her ashamed, isolated and invisible, ”her attorneys told WAFB.
LSU’s failure to comply with Title IX requirements for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual misconduct comes after the school released Husch Blackwell’s report. This document included allegations of sexual misconduct against former football head coach Miles, who recently parted ways with Kansas amid the aftermath.
LSU suspended Ausberry and Segar for 30 and 21 days without pay, respectively, after the report was released.
Miles was previously banned from being alone with students following the 2013 sexual harassment investigation, according to the original internal report released by LSU. The initial report alleged that Miles texted female student workers on a burner phone, took them to his condo alone, and kissed a female student on at least one occasion. Miles, who was directly involved in hiring student employees, allegedly “made it clear that he wanted these employees to have a certain ‘look’ (good-looking, blonde, fit).” Employees at the time who did not fit the description would either receive fewer hours or be laid off, according to the report.
Husch Blackwell found that the LSU athletic department did not respond adequately to accounts of Miles. The law firm’s report said that former athletic director Joe Alleva recommended that Miles be fired for good cause in 2013, citing “insubordination, inappropriate behavior, which puts the university, the athletic department and the football program at great risk.” .
The company’s report also revealed that Lewis was “the only person in the entire University who has been disciplined in any way for failing to file a report” under the proper Title IX guidelines.
“At trial, we intend to show that LSU acted more like a crime syndicate than our state’s flagship university when it intentionally set out to destroy the professional career of one of the most successful black women in NCAA sports.” attorney Bridgett Brown told WAFB. .