Warning Signs in Murder of Yeardley Love: 'Nobody Put It All Together'

University promises more attention to domestic violence after lacrosse killing.

ByABC News via logo
May 3, 2010, 2:33 PM

May 7, 2010— -- The violent history of the University of Virginia lacrosse player charged in his girlfriend's death -- including a previous alleged attack on her that went unreported -- has prompted calls for increased domestic violence vigilance.

Since Monday's killing of varsity female lacrosse player Yeardley Love, 22, reports have surfaced that George Huguely, also 22, had attacked her months before while socializing with visiting players from the University of North Carolina. No police reports were ever filed.

University of Virginia President John Casteen said he was "startled" to learn there was no notification system in place that would have alerted him to Huguely's past run-ins with the law, including a 2008 arrest in which he threatened to kill a female officer. The case resulted in a conviction for public intoxication and resisting arrest.

It's a flaw in the system he has vowed to change.

"We are going to require a screen each semester to make sure we have identified any incident that has not been reported to us," he said.

Jonathan Kassa, executive director of Security on Campus Inc., said campus authorities should know if their students have criminal histories.

"Campuses should absolutely be doing background checks to make sure that serious felonies, sexual assaults or violence or intimate partner crime, gun violence -- that those students are not part of their campus community," he said.

Claire Kaplan, University of Virginia's director of sexual and domestic violence services, agreed that many warning signs were missed in the Love case, but that it wasn't uncommon.

"There's so many reasons why people don't speak up," she said. "They're afraid of the consequences. The most silent victims of domestic violence are teenagers and young adults.

"Nobody put it all together," she said.

The incident at the University of North Carolina was reportedly broken up by other lacrosse players. It wasn't the first time Huguely had attracted such attention.

His father called Florida police to the family's luxurious yacht in 2008 with a domestic-abuse complaint.

When police motored out to the yacht, Huguely jumped into the Atlantic Ocean and began swimming to shore, according to the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

The family's 40-foot yacht, named "The Real Deal," was a quarter of a mile offshore from the glamorous Ritz Carlton Hotel, police said.

The domestic abuse complaint had been filed by the suspect's father, George Huguely IV. It was unclear whom the complaint was filed against.

No arrests were made and Huguely was picked up by a passing boater without injury. The incident occurred not far from the family's million-dollar estate in the wealthy coastal town of Manalapan, Fla.

Love's uncle, Granville Swope, told ABC News that his niece was a "delightful lady in every respect."

"She was just wonderful," said Swope, who asked for privacy for Love's grieving mother and older sister.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Casteen said Love would receive her degree posthumously with the rest of her class later this month.

Love's funeral is scheduled for Saturday.