The University of Missouri did not investigate or tell law enforcement officials about an 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, an "Outside the Lines" investigation has found. The alleged victim, a member of the swim team, committed suicide in 2011.
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.
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."
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.
Missouri officials have told "Outside the Lines" the information is insufficient for them to bring to law enforcement or to investigate under Title IX.
"The chat transcript was not very clear about the situation and didn't identify anyone else involved, nor did it give any indication that Sasha had reported the situation to anyone," Chad Moller, athletic department spokesman, wrote in a letter to "Outside the Lines" in December. He said information about the alleged rape reached athletic officials only after she died.