April 17, 2014

MU responds to ESPN report on handling of alleged rape of athlete

The University of Missouri says it asked the parents of swimmer Sasha Menu Courey and ESPN for help finding people responsible for or that knew about the alleged rape of Menu Courey,  without results.

Sasha Menu Corey

Sasha Menu Corey

ESPN reports the University did not investigate or report to law enforcement the alleged incident though several campus employees learned about it more than a year ago.

Menu Courey committed suicide in 2011.

The University issued a statement Sunday morning following the airing of an ESPN “Outside the Lines” report about MU’s handling of the allegation.

Below is the statement posted on University of Missouri news bureau website.

It says its Office of Student Conduct asked Menu Courey’s parents in a letter dated January 28, 2013, if they had any information that would help identify those involved and if they wanted an investigation of the alleged assault to occur. The University says the parents did not respond. 

The University says it last fall asked ESPN to share the names of anyone at the University who the network claimed knew about the alleged assault, and ESPN refused.

The University says after it learned information on Friday when ESPN released its report, it submitted to the Columbia Police Department names from that report of individuals who might have information about the alleged assault.

MU says it was determined that the alleged assault happened off campus and in the Columbia Police Department’s jurisdiction.  The University says it will cooperate with Columbia police in their investigation.

In its statement the University says it first leaned about the alleged February 2010 assault in late 2012 in a transcript from an online chat Menu Courey had with a crisis hotline, believed to be from December 2010.  It says it could not investigate because there was no complaint made by Menu Courey or her parents, and not enough other information about the incident.  MU says privacy laws prohibited MU medical personnel from reporting anything Sasha might have shared with them about the alleged assault without her permission.

MU says it will not comment on the investigation out of respect for the Columbia Police Department process.

UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI STATEMENT:

The University of Missouri continues to express sympathies to the parents, other family, friends and teammates of Sasha Menu Courey.

As a result of information that first came to the University of Missouri’s attention in a Friday, January 24th report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines program related to former student-athlete Sasha Menu Courey, the MU Police Department submitted information to the Columbia Police Department (CPD) on the evening of Saturday, January 25th. This information from ESPN’s story included names of individuals who might have relevant information regarding the alleged February 2010 assault. 

After review of this new information which was previously unavailable to MU, it was determined that the alleged assault occurred off campus, and therefore lies within the jurisdiction of CPD. The university will assist CPD in any way possible as they conduct their investigation. 

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. Privacy laws prohibited MU medical personnel from reporting anything Sasha might have shared with them about the alleged assault without her permission. 

MU first became aware of the alleged assault in late 2012, after Sasha’s June 2011 death, upon reviewing the transcript of an online chat that Sasha conducted with a crisis hotline believed to have taken place in December of 2010. 

MU’s Office of Student Conduct asked Sasha’s parents in a letter dated Jan. 28, 2013, if they had any information that would help identify those involved and if they wanted an investigation of the alleged assault to occur, but they did not respond. In the fall of 2013, after continued communication with ESPN through numerous Sunshine requests, MU asked that ESPN share names of anyone at the University who they claimed knew about the alleged assault; they refused.