The University of Missouri released a statement Sunday saying university police have turned over to municipal police names and information about the alleged rape of former Tigers swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide in 2011.
"Outside the Lines" on Friday published a story detailing how the university had not told law enforcement officials about the alleged rape, possibly by one or more members of its football team, despite administrators finding out about the alleged 2010 incident more than a year ago.
In the statement Sunday, Missouri said its university police department acted Saturday night because of new names and information in the story, and that "it was determined that the alleged assault occurred off campus, and therefore lies within the jurisdiction of [the Columbia Police Department]. The university will assist CPD in any way possible as they conduct their investigation."
A spokesperson for Columbia police could not be reached for comment Sunday morning.
Later Sunday, university system president Timothy Wolfe sent a letter to chancellors asking "the board of curators to hire outside independent counsel to conduct an investigation of MU's handling of matters related to Ms. Courey."
"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 wrote.
"Outside the Lines" reported that for most of 2010, Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey harbored a secret: She believed she'd been raped by a football player. Late that year, her life spiraling downward, Menu Courey began to share her secret with others, including a rape crisis counselor and a campus therapist, records show. In the ensuing months, a campus nurse, two doctors and, according to her journal, an athletic department administrator also learned of her claim that she had been assaulted.
The administrator denied to "Outside the Lines" that Menu Courey had told her she was assaulted.
Healthcare providers are generally exempt from requirements to report such crimes and also are bound by medical privacy laws. But those same protections do not extend to campus administrators, who at Missouri were made aware of claims that Menu Courey had been raped through several sources, including a 2012 newspaper article as well as the university's review of records when fulfilling separate records requests by her parents and "Outside the Lines."
In its statement Sunday, Missouri said it had not acted previously "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."