Louisiana state lawmakers are looking into subpoenaing LSU football coach Ed Orgeron after the 59-year-old declined to testify in person before the Senate Select Committee on Women and Children, according to Glenn Guilbeau of the Lafayette Daily Advertiser.
The committee wanted the coach to answer questions related to a probe of sexual misconduct within the Tiger football program on Thursday. Orgeron instead submitted written testimony on Wednesday—an option the committee offered him in an apparent gesture of goodwill.
State Rep. Aimee Freeman discussed the committee's plans:
"We are looking into a subpoena for Coach Orgeron. All options are on the table. As far as I'm concerned, part of Coach Orgeron's salary comes from state taxpayers, so the fact that he cannot sit in front of a committee investigating his program is wrong.
"The committee decided to invite Coach Orgeron and other LSU officials first with the option of writing a statement to see what happens. We haven't subpoenaed him yet. We're looking into that."
Orgeron's written statement detailed his admittedly vague recollections of an interaction between then-LSU tailback Derrius Guice and 74-year-old Superdome employee Gloria Scott. Scott testified that Guice sexually harassed and propositioned her at a high school football playoff game in 2017. Scott further testified that Orgeron lied to investigators about his involvement in the aftermath of the alleged harassment.
Orgeron denied the allegation in his written statement:
"First and foremost, it is important for me to continue to state that what was said to Ms.Scott by Mr. Guice in 2017 is utterly unacceptable. Further, I was deeply upset when I watched the video of Ms. Scott’s testimony, as it was the first time that I heard all of the details of her encounter with Mr. Guice. I am devastated that she was talked to in such a vulgar and inappropriate manner, and I applaud her courage to provide her statements to the Committee.As I stated, I want Ms. Scott, her family, and others to know that I completely cooperated with the Husch Blackwell investigation, and that I will continue to cooperate with LSU’s internal review."
LSU deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry also declined to testify in person before the committee, explaining that he would be out of town and unable to cooperate.
State Sen. Regina Barrow, who chairs the committee, was concerned both by Orgeron's statement as well as his decision to submit written testimony rather than answer questions in person.
"The coach's statement does nothing to speak directly to the actions that occurred or to which action he took after he learned of the allegations," Barrow said. "In fact, his statement seeks to discredit Ms. Scott's testimony by drawing unfounded parallels between Ms. Scott and others. Coach Orgeron and all those involved in this matter owe it to those ladies to stop with this dismissive behavior and to own up to what occurred."