UM System president seeks independent review of swimmer’s suicide and alleged rape

By The Associated Press

COLUMBIA — The president of the University of Missouri system said Sunday he is seeking an independent review of how the university handled allegations from a swimmer that she had been sexually assaulted by a football player more than a year before she committed suicide.

The move by UM System President Timothy Wolfe followed an ESPN report Friday about Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide in June 2011, about 16 months after she was allegedly raped by a Missouri football player when she was a freshman swimmer.

A man identified in the ESPN story as a close friend of Menu Courey’s said he had also seen a tape of the alleged incident and three football players were involved. But that tape was now missing, he told ESPN.

Records indicated Menu Courey spoke about her assault in 2010 to campus personnel, including two doctors, according to the ESPN report, which also said an athletic department administrator knew of her claim. The university has denied the administrator was told about the assault.

In a letter Sunday to chancellors of the university’s four campuses, Wolfe said he would ask the board of curators to hire “outside independent counsel” to investigate how the university handled Menu Courey’s allegations.

“Such an independent review will be beneficial to all our campuses so that we can determine if there were any shortcomings with respect to MU’s handling of this matter and, if so, ways in which to improve the handling of such matters in the future,” Wolfe said.

He said he was calling for the review “in light of the ESPN ‘Outside The Lines’ report that questioned the response of our Columbia campus” to the alleged sexual assault. He described Menu Courey as “a former MU student athlete who also suffered from severe mental illness.”

“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,” a university statement said. “Privacy laws prohibited MU medical personnel from reporting anything Sasha might have shared with them about the alleged assault without her permission.”

The university said that was the first time it learned of “names of individuals who might have relevant information regarding the alleged February 2010 assault.” The information was turned over to Columbia police instead of university police because the alleged assault occurred off campus.

Read more details about Sasha Menu Courey in the next story.



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