Under Title IX law enforced by the U.S. Department of Education, once a school knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual violence it must take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what happened. The law applies even after the death of an alleged victim. Further, the federal Clery Act requires campus officials with responsibility for student or campus activities to report serious incidents of crime to police for investigation and possible inclusion in campus crime statistics.
Among the thousands of pages of documents gathered by Missouri administrators in late 2012 in response to a records request was a December 2010 online chat transcript between Menu Courey and a rape crisis counselor that had been saved in Menu Courey's university email folder. In the transcript, the former top swim recruit describes an assault after having consensual sex with an unidentified man. Another document discovered by a university hospital administrator shows Menu Courey had told a campus nurse and doctor in 2011 that she had been raped by a football player in February 2010.
Menu Courey committed suicide in June 2011, about 16 months after the alleged assault. The incident has not been reported to campus police, University of Missouri Police Capt. Brian Weimer said Thursday. City police and the Boone County prosecutor's office say they also have not received any reports.
On Thursday, after being shown medical records by "Outside the Lines," Chad Moller, athletic department spokesman, said that the university, in declining to launch an investigation, was honoring what it believes were the wishes of Menu Courey, who never reported the incident to police.
"An important consideration in deciding how to address a report of a sexual incident is to determine what the alleged victim wants," Moller wrote in an email. "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."
At least one expert told "Outside the Lines" Friday evening that it appeared Missouri administrators had shirked their duties under Title IX law.
"At the point that the university's administrators had notice of the alleged rape[s], they had an obligation to investigate, based on the potential harm that the alleged rapists posed and pose to the university community," said Brett Sokolow, executive director of the Association of Title IX Administrators. "Title IX obligates universities to these actions, and to efforts to remedy the effects of the acts for the victim and the community."
"Outside the Lines" also reported Friday that Menu Courey shared with at least one other person details of the alleged assault. A friend, former Missouri wide receiver Rolandis Woodland, said he has seen a videotape of the alleged incident that corroborates the basics of what she told medical officials, and that three other Missouri football players actually were involved.
In a second release Sunday, Missouri took exception with reporting by "Outside the Lines" and stood by its actions over the past three years.