High-ranking LSU executive filing $50M lawsuit against university, top athletics bosses
BATON ROUGE - Sharon Lewis, an LSU Football associate athletics director, is filing a $50 million lawsuit against top LSU brass and Baton Rouge-based law firm, Taylor Porter, related to the university's handling over sexual assault and harassment complaints.
Taylor Porter handled a 2013 investigation into complaints against Les Miles. Lewis will claim in the suit that the law firm worked alongside LSU's board members to cover up Title IX complaints.
Lewis plans to file the lawsuit in Baton Rouge Wednesday morning.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit previously reported Taylor Porter billed nearly $100,000 for the 2013 investigation. It was managed by attorney Vicki Crochet, who was also in charge of another, controversial complaint about workplace harassment at another government institution: One at the state attorney general's office.
USA Today spoke with Lewis and her attorneys in an exclusive interview published early Tuesday.
Lewis told the newspaper, she experienced years of mistreatment related to issues already under the microscope in the wake of the Title IX investigation.
State lawmakers have been probing the bombshell report by a separate law firm, Husch Blackwell, which was released last month and showed LSU mishandled and covered up complaints, especially against star athletes.
USA Today reported "attorneys for Lewis said they plan to file a federal Title IX lawsuit, a state whistleblower lawsuit, an Equal Employment Opportunity grievance and a civil lawsuit under the federal RICO statute, which is used to dismantle organized crime rings."
Also included in the lawsuit will be Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, the only two current LSU employees who were disciplined by the university related to the Title IX report.
Read the full statement from Lewis' attorneys below.
Associate Athletic Director Sharon Lewis, a 20-year veteran at Louisiana State University and one of the most successful on-campus recruiters in the country, on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, will file a Title IX Retaliation and Civil Rico action against LSU Board Of Supervisors; the University’s Law Firm, Taylor Porter; former Head Football Coach Les Miles and other LSU dignitaries in Federal Court in Baton Rouge. Additional claims will be filed in East Baton Rouge Parish State Court and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission next week.
Attorneys Larry English, Bridgett Brown and Tammye Brown represent Ms. Lewis.
Attorney Tammye Brown stated: “Members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, LSU Athletic Department, LSU Leadership and their law firm, Taylor Porter entered into a conspiracy to hide Les Miles’ sexual harassment investigation from federal officials and the public and to retaliate against Ms. Lewis. Over the last eight (8) years, Ms. Lewis has stood up to to protect LSU female student workers and as a result has suffered unimaginable retaliation sanctioned by the LSU Board of Supervisors.”
A memorandum, written by Taylor Porter on May 15, 2013, documents LSU and Taylor Porter entering into a conspiracy to cover up Les Miles’ sexual harassment and Title IX investigations in violation of Federal and State Civil Rico Statutes. 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 could not hush Ms Lewis, they laid the groundwork for perpetual retaliation and hostility to render her embarrassed, isolated and invisible.
But according to Attorney Bridgett Brown, the Husch Report is just the tip of the iceberg of Ms. Lewis’ nearly decade-long suffering for doing her job to protect the girls of LSU.
Attorney Bridgett Brown stated: “Sharon Lewis is a hero who stood up to protect the daughters of our state from a sexual predator, whom Taylor Porter referenced as XXX (Triple X) to hide his identity in its 2013 sexual harassment investigation.”
Attorney Bridgett Brown continued: “At trial we intend to prove LSU acted more like a crime syndicate than the flagship university of our state when it intentionally set out to destroy the professional career of one of the most successful black women in NCAA sports.”
The attorneys will hold a press conference on the steps of the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge.