Notre Dame Scandal: Family of Lizzy Seeberg Speaks Out

Teen committed suicide after accusing Notre Dame footballer in sex case.

December 21, 2010, 7:53 AM

Dec. 21, 2010 — -- The parents of the college freshmen who committed suicide after claiming she'd been assaulted by a Notre Dame football player feel betrayed by the university that's been attended by generations of their family members.

"This isn't a matter of someone stealing a laptop or a beer bust, this is a very serious allegation," said Tom Seeberg, father of Lizzy Seeberg. "This started in September, there were still leaves on trees and here we are with snowstorms and as I say, here we are."

Lizzy, a 19-year-old student at Notre Dame's sister school, St. Mary's College, took her life Sept. 10, days after she reported to university police that she'd been improperly touched by a football player on the night of August 31.

Lizzy had battled anxiety and depression.

In a statement to university police made Sept. 6, she said, "I didn't feel safe in his room....he proceeded to grab my face and started to kiss me. Tears started rolling down my face because I didn't know what to do...I felt so scared, I couldn't move."

Lizzy's parents said that the day after their daughter reported the incident, Lizzy received a disturbing text message from the friend that had left her alone in the player's room.

"Don't do anything you'd regret. Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea," read the text message.

The Seebergs said that the investigation's timeline disturbs them. Lizzy reported the incident Sept. 6. It took police 15 days to interview the football player, who has not been named.

"If you look at that two week period of time…you'll see that this football player took the football game twice…160,000 people saw this individual before the police did," Tom Seeberg said. "Anybody looking at some of the facts of this timeline has to reach the conclusion that this wasn't a serious investigation."

The University of Notre Dame defends its investigation, saying that, "we kept the Seebergs informed throughout and at the same time honored their request of us to keep this matter private."

The statement continues, "we have great sympathy for a grieving family that may believe our investigation was insufficient, but we also respectfully and wholeheartedly disagree with that contention."

Seeberg Family Fights For Daughter

Prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges, citing inconsistencies in witness accounts and cell phone records and partly because Lizzy Seeberg was not alive to testify.

The Seeberg family feels the university put fears of a lawsuit ahead of their commitment to finding out the truth about what happened to Lizzy.

"Looking back on it, I feel that they sort of lawyered up from the beginning, they hunkered down and maybe they were afraid of us. We are on record with them saying we're good people, we don't want to sue anybody, we are not out for anybody's blood. We are after truth for its own sake," Tom Seeberg said.

The Seeberg family doesn't want their story to deter other women from coming forward.

"We want women…to report this immediately, to seek out some counseling, to do all the right things in response to the hospital, DNA, all that sort of stuff, go ahead and report the case," Tom Seeberg said.

As Christmas approaches, Lizzy's mother remembers her young, vibrant daughter who loved country music.

"We're here with our loss..our daughter.. it's going to be very hard," Mary Seeberg said.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events