Report: Missouri gives police info on alleged sexual assault

The University of Missouri police department submitted information to the local Columbia police department, detailing an alleged 2010 sexual assault of former Tigers swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide in 2011, ESPN reported Sunday. 

As detailed in an Outside the Lines report this past week, University of Missouri officials failed to notify the police after Courey was allegedly raped, possibly by one or more members of the school’s football team. The report stated that Missouri officials knew about the incident in late 2012.

UM’s police department’s decision to assist the local police department was a result of new information gathered from the OTL report.

Part of the school’s statement, released on Sunday, read: “After review of this new information which was previously unavailable to MU, it was determined that the alleged assault occurred off campus and therefore within the jurisdiction of the CPD. The university will assist the CPD in any way possible.”

“MU was previously unable to go forward with an investigation because there was no complaint brought forward from the alleged victim or her parents, and there was otherwise insufficient information about the incident.”

The OTL report stated that Menu Courey kept the alleged sexual assault a secret for the majority of 2010, later choosing to confide in a rape crisis counselor, a school nurse and a school therapist, among a few others.

At issue is whether the school officials had an obligation to report the alleged crime. The school said “privacy laws prohibited MU medical personnel from reporting anything Sasha might have shared with them about the alleged assault without her permission.”

But both Title IX and the federal Clery Act assert that if a school knows or has reasonable suspicion that a serious crime occurred, it has an obligation to investigate. The Clery Act applies to school officials with responsibility for students’ welfare.

“At the point that the university’s administrators had notice of the alleged rape, they had an obligation to investigate,” Brett Sokolow, the executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators, said to ESPN.

In its defense, Missouri posted a letter it sent to Menu Courey’s parents in Jan. of 2013, asking if they had any information regarding the alleged assault. The swimmer’s parents didn’t respond because they say they had lost faith in the school's sincerity regarding the matter. 

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