Orgeron says he doesn't recall conversation with woman who accused Derrius Guice of harassment
BATON ROUGE - Continued questioning of LSU representatives coupled with testimony from individuals who say their appeals to LSU officials regarding alleged cases of sexual harassment are adding fuel to the firestorm of questions state lawmakers have for the university in regards to its handling of sexual assault and harassment cases.
Since Friday's (March 26) testimony by 74-year-old Gloria Scott, who says LSU Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron denied her request that he bench a football player who sexually harassed her while she worked security at the Superdome, lawmakers are demanding that Orgeron testify at an upcoming hearing.
Scott was tearful during last Friday's testimony as she explained her account of what happened in December 2017 to the state Senate Select Committee on Women and Children.
She explained that she was working a high school football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome when then-star running back Derrius Guice and several other young men approached her. She told lawmakers it was then that Guice repeatedly sexually harassed her.
Scott went on to say when she explained what happened to Orgeron and other LSU officials, including Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, asking them to pull Guice from the 2018 Citrus Bowl, her request fell on deaf ears.
On Tuesday (March 30), Orgeron publicly responded to Scott's claim for the first time, saying that he does not even recall speaking to her about the incident.
This is in stark contrast with Scott's account of what happened.
She claims that after reporting the incident to LSU officials, Orgeron called her, with Guice apparently in the room, to try to ask for forgiveness. She said Orgeron told her Guice was a "troubled child," and that he was "just kidding."
Scott said Orgeron tried to put Guice on to apologize, but she refused to speak with him.
LSU released a statement Friday, stating Orgeron "never had any direct communications with the complainant" and that Orgeron "has and will continue to follow university protocols regarding reporting."
Orgeron told 104.5 ESPN's "Off the Bench" on Tuesday that when he watched Scott's testimony, it was the first time he'd heard of "all the horrible details" of her encounter with Guice and that he is "sickened by what she went through."
Orgeron added that he "completely cooperated" with Husch Blackwell investigators and will "continue to cooperate" with LSU's internal investigation.
"As I told them," Orgeron said, "I truthfully do not remember speaking with Ms. Scott three years ago. But I do know Ms. Scott deserves to be heard and admired for her courage. I have been, and I will continue to be committed to a culture of integrity and compliance."
In a report from law firm Husch Blackwell, certain details from Scott's story are included, but the firm was "not able to identify 'the coach'" who allegedly called Scott on Guice's behalf.
The report also said Orgeron told investigators he never had any direct communication with the alleged victim, saying Segar "told us about the incident," and that an LSU attorney "did an investigation" and he was "not sure what happened."
During Friday's testimony, lawmakers on the committee demanded answers from LSU leaders about Guice’s alleged harassment of Scott and the school’s refusal to take action. State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, who is running for Congress, pressed the attorney for LSU’s Board of Supervisors on Orgeron’s claims.
“We will speak to Ms. Scott and speak to Coach O and we’ll get you an answer,” the attorney, Winston Decuir, said. “If he lied, we’ll deal with Coach O.”
Rep. Paula Davis, R-Baton Rouge, called the allegations “disgusting” and “gut-wrenching.”
Rep. Aimee Freeman, D-New Orleans, demanded Orgeron testify before the committee.
“How could anyone think Ms. Scott was saying anything but the truth?” She said. “What reason would she have to come sit before us and make up that she spoke to somebody?”
“If my daughter was applying to LSU right now, she would not be going,” Freeman said.
No plans for future testimony with the senate committee were discussed during Orgeron's radio interview Tuesday morning.
"It is 100% unacceptable," Orgeron said. "I'm devastated that it happened to her. I want Ms. Scott, her family and the others to know that."
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