Review Finds Sasha Menu Courey Assault Investigation Didn't Follow Federal Rules

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2014

COLUMBIA, MO - OCTOBER 19:  A general view of Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium during the game between the Florida Gators and the Missouri Tigers on October 19, 2013 in Columbia, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The University of Missouri failed to follow certain guidelines set forth by federal law during its handling of a potential sexual harassment case that proceeded the suicide of Sasha Menu Courey in 2011, based on the results of an independent investigation.

Alan Scher Zagier of the Associated Press reports the independent probe found that the university should have investigated the details surrounding her death after the former swimmer's parents raised questions. Menu Courey believed she was sexually assaulted by football players in 2010:

Menu Courey alleged she was sexually assaulted by as many as three football players 16 months before she died.

The school previously said it didn't act sooner under the Title IX law because neither Menu Courey nor her parents sought a police investigation and didn't respond to a later request for information. The case has been referred to Columbia police.

Further information from the report, provided by Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star, declares Missouri officials had enough details by November 2012 to launch an investigation that would have led to a chain reaction of action by multiple entities:

According the report, conducted by the Dowd Bennett Law Firm of Clayton, Mo., MU officials had enough information on Nov. 20, 2012, to investigate Menu Courey's alleged sexual assault, as required by Title IX, and that "the Title IX coordinator should have been notified of the facts, an investigation should have been conducted at that time, and the police department should have been notified."

Palmer notes that the independent report also states no laws were violated despite the lack of action, but the university didn't follow the requirements set forth by Title IX legislation.

The story of Menu Courey made national headlines earlier in the year when an Outside the Lines investigation found that Missouri didn't look into the incident or pass word along to law enforcement, even though administrators were provided with details.

Tom Farrey and Nicole Noren of ESPN provided extensive details about the alleged sexual assault and surrounding information uncovered by Outside the Lines, which caused Menu Courey's life to head into a downward spiral before she took her own life 16 months after the night in question.

At that time, athletic department spokesman Chad Moller told the ESPN reporters that the university was doing what it felt Menu Courey wanted since she didn't come forward with the information:

An important consideration in deciding how to address a report of a sexual incident is to determine what the alleged victim wants. In this situation, it is clear that Sasha chose not to report this incident to anyone at MU other than mentioning it to healthcare providers who were bound to respect her privacy.

The Associated Press report notes that the case has since been referred to Columbia police. No other details about the status of a potential case are provided.

Furthermore, the AP mentions that the firm's report didn't include suggestions for how the university should better handle these types of situations in the future. It only provides its findings on the Menu Courey situation.