I am little surprised that this hasn’t garnered more mainstream attention. When you mix the words Notre Dame football with sexual assault and suicide, that is something that a lot of people would be interested in.
The story is a complex one and just remember, as we go through it, no one has been charged with a crime.
It is sad that a young woman who was battling a lot of demons chose to take her life. If Notre Dame in any way contributed to that, by not taking her claims seriously, that is a big problem. Here are the details:
A 19-year-old Northbrook woman died of an apparent suicide nine days after telling University of Notre Dame police that she had been sexually attacked by a football player in a dorm room, the Tribune has learned.
Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg, a freshman at neighboring St. Mary’s College who had battled depression, apparently overdosed on prescription medication in her own room during the third week of classes in September. The player, meanwhile, has remained on the field.
More than two months later, Notre Dame refuses to publicly acknowledge the case, and what actions university officials have taken to investigate her allegation remain largely unknown.
Campus authorities did not tell the St. Joseph County Police Department investigating Seeberg’s death about her report of a sexual attack, county officials said. Nor did they refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses, according to prosecutors.
Seeberg told her dorm mates about the incident upon returning to St. Mary’s campus and hand-wrote a statement that evening, a source said.
She reported it to Notre Dame police at 5 p.m. the following day. The department’s Web site twice refers to a single alleged sex crime on Aug. 31, listing it once as a sexual battery and once as a sexual assault by an acquaintance. The documents provided no further description. A source said that her allegations did not describe penetration, but a sexual attack that ended when there was a knock on the door.
Seeberg received treatment at a local hospital, consented to a DNA evidence kit and was offered counseling, sources said.
Notre Dame police could have turned the case over to the county’s special victims unit, which is trained to handle sex-crime investigations. However, officials did not do so, and a campus police log shows the matter was assigned within the department.
Something doesn’t sound right about how Notre Dame handed Miss Seeberg’s complaint. My main issue is why Notre Dame did not turn over the case to the special victims unit?
Miss Seeberg appeared to do exactly what you are supposed to do if you are involved in a sexual assault. She reported it, went to the hospital, gave written statements and pointed out the player she was accusing.
This doesn’t mean she was telling the truth, but when you make a serious claim like that it is supposed to be investigated thoroughly, because if it is true the player shouldn’t just be taken off the football field he should be in jail.
I don’t claim to be a psychiatrist, but you don’t have to be to realize that a traumatic event like a sexual assault if true, can send a woman into a deep depression especially if she feels that the university is giving preferential treatment to the accused because he is an athlete.
Notre Dame is already under investigation for the death of team videographer Declan Sullivan who fell from a scissor lift during a very windy day.
The player has not been charged with a crime, but the true crime appears to the against the university who may have contributed to a young woman’s death just by not doing their job of investigating her claim.
Notre Dame is a catholic school, that boasts a higher moral ground, but right now their hands look very dirty.