ESPN reported Friday that University of Missouri officials declined to investigate or report to law enforcement an alleged rape of late Tiger swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who believed it had been committed by a Tiger football player. Menu Courey committed suicide in 2011.
The alleged sexual assault took place in February 2010, with records showing Menu Courey revealed her account of the incident to a campus rape crisis counselor in December of that year, and other health care providers in early 2011. Though those providers are not obligated to report that information to Missouri administrators, ESPN reports that officials would have become aware of Menu Courey's claim either through a February 2012 Columbia Daily-Tribune story which was emailed to athletic director Mike Alden and other officials, through records requests by Menu Courey's family, or from Menu Courey herself, who wrote in her journal that she told athletic department academic adviser Meghan Anderson she had been raped in a phone conversation dated May 12, 2011.
Per ESPN's report:
Under Title IX law enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what happened. The law applies even after the death of an alleged victim. Further, the federal Clery Act requires campus officials with responsibility for student or campus activities to report serious incidents of crime to police for investigation and possible inclusion in campus crime statistics.
Though Anderson acknowledges that she spoke to Menu Courey on the phone, she denies that Menu Courey told her she had been raped. Missouri athletic department spokesperson Chad Moller told ESPN that the information revealed in the record searches was insufficient to launch an investigation or report to law enforcement. He also cited Menu Courey's decision not to report the incident to police as evidence the school was acting in accordance with her wishes.
"No one on the coaching staff … and no one in our administration nor any staff members were, to the best of our knowledge, ever told about this event while Sasha was alive," Moller wrote to ESPN in a December 2013 letter. "Had Sasha told any of our staff that she felt she had been assaulted, we expect that our staff would have reported it immediately to the proper authorities."
Menu Courey told a nurse at the campus psychiatric center in March 2011 that she had been raped by a Missouri football player. Former Tiger receiver (and friend of Menu Courey's) Rolandis Woodland told ESPN he was not at the scene of the incident, but that she had sent him a videotape just before her death -- provided to her, he said, by a former girlfriend of one of his Tiger teammates -- that shows Menu Courey being sexually assaulted by multiple players. (Woodland could not provide the tape to ESPN, saying it had been misplaced.)
Former Tiger running back Gil Moye said he and Menu Courey had consensual sex on the night in question, but denied that any of his teammates assaulted her. In a diary entry, Menu Courey wrote that she would "really like to believe his excuse that he was too drunk to intervene."
Moller told ESPN in a recent email that after uncovering the details in Menu Courey's parents' records request, they asked Lynn Courey and Mike Menu if they wished for the school to open an investigation. He then said that Menu Courey's parents had not responded to that question, with the parents explaining that lack of response (in ESPN's words) by saying "they didn't feel it was their job to investigate." Lynn Courey did tell ESPN the case should be opened "without a doubt."