Missouri president asks for investigation after rape allegation

The University of Missouri System president has called for an investigation into how officials handled allegations of sexual assault made by a former swimmer on the Columbia campus.

In question is whether "there were any shortcomings" in the University of Missouri's "handling of this matter" regarding former Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey according to Timothy Wolfe, president of the Missouri system.

Wolfe released a statement Sunday afternoon reacting to a weekend report by ESPN's Outside the Lines regarding Courey. Wolfe called for the University of Missouri-Columbia board of curators to hire outside independent counsel to investigate "MU's handling of matters related to Ms. Courey."

The swimmer told health care professionals, a rape crisis counselor and an academic advisor she had been raped by a football player, according to the report. Courey was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder at the time she committed suicide in 2011.

The school did not investigate the allegations. Missouri released its own statement Sunday on its athletics site. It said the university's police department on Saturday submitted information to the Columbia, Mo., police department because the alleged incident occurred off campus. Also in the statement, Missouri reiterated it was not able to go forward with an investigation because neither Courey nor her parents brought a complaint.

The main Missouri figures commenting in the OTL report were senior associate AD Sarah Reesman, swimming coach Greg Rodenbaugh and sports information director Chad Moller. Neither AD Mike Alden nor any senior university officials commented for the story. OTL produced an email string that showed several Missouri athletic officials -- including Alden -- getting a copy of a newspaper story on Courey's situation in February 2012.

OTL says that Courey told Missouri academic advisor Meghan Anderson she had been raped. In the OTL report, Anderson denies being told of an assault by Courey.

The OTL report also says Courey described the alleged rape in detail to a rape crisis counselor during an online chat. No charges were ever filed by Courey.

Wolfe's statement distributed to media was made to the chancellors of the state's universities in St. Louis, Rolla, Kansas City and Columbia. It also called for a "comprehensive review" of each campus' policies regarding sexual assault and mental health services.

Because the OTL report, "questioned the response of our Columbia campus to an alleged sexual assault of a former MU student athlete who also suffered from severe mental illness, I want to address the questions raised," Wolfe wrote to the chancellors.

Once the policies on each campus are examined, Wolfe promised "any additional resources" to ensure the issue is being addressed "in the appropriate manner."

In 2010, former Missouri tailback Derrick Washington was convicted and sentenced to five years in prison on a felony charge of deviate sexual assault of a Missouri female student. He served 120 days.

Former Missouri basketball guard Michael Dixon was under indefinite suspension in November 2012 when he transferred to Memphis. The announcement came shortly after a second rape accusation in two days against Dixon had surfaced, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.


Anyone in need of a credential from all the BCS title games? Dennis Dodd has them. In three decades in the business, he's covered everything from the Olympics to Stanley Cup to conference realignment. Just get him on campus in a press box in the fall. His heart lies with college football.
 
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