MU gives Columbia police information on alleged assault on swimmer who committed suicide
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri has turned information over to police about an alleged sexual assault on a Missouri swimmer who committed suicide in 2011, the university said in a statement Sunday, two days after a published report about the swimmer’s allegations and death.
The university’s statement followed an ESPN report Friday about the alleged sexual assault of swimmer Sasha Menu Courey, who committed suicide in June 2011, about 16 months after she was allegedly raped by a Missouri football player when she was a freshman.
A man identified in the ESPN story as a close friend of Menu Courey’s said he had also seen a tape of the alleged incident and three football players were involved. But that tape was now missing, he told ESPN.
Records indicated Menu Courey spoke about her assault in 2010 to campus personnel, including two doctors, according to the ESPN report, which also said an athletic department administrator knew of her claim. The university has denied the administrator was told about the assault.
The university said it turned its information about Menu Courey’s allegation over to Columbia police Saturday after learning of the ESPN story, which “included names of individuals who might have relevant information regarding the alleged February 2010 assault.”
The Associated Press, which normally doesn’t name victims of sexual assault, has named Menu Courey because her parents have discussed the case at length with ESPN. Attempts Sunday to reach Menu Courey’s parents, Lynn Courey and Mike Menu, in Toronto, weren’t successful.
The university said it first learned of the alleged assault in late 2012 when officials reviewed the transcript of an online chat that Menu Courey conducted with a crisis hotline “believed to have taken place in December of 2010.”
The university reached out to Menu Courey’s parents in a Jan. 28, 2013, letter asking if they had any information that could help identify anyone involved in the alleged assault, and if they wanted an investigation into the accusations. The parents didn’t respond.
Lynn Courey told the Columbia Daily Tribune they didn’t respond to the university’s letter because “they were the ones that had all the information of Sasha’s correspondence. We didn’t have any of that.”
“We didn’t know they needed our permission to investigate something that happened, and they were aware of it for over a year. This is the part that kind of has me puzzled,” Courey said.
The university said it also asked ESPN last fall to provide names of anyone at the university “who they claimed knew about the alleged assault.” But the university said ESPN refused.
“MU was previously unable to go forward with an investigation because there was no complaint brought forward from the alleged victim or her parents, and there was otherwise insufficient information about the incident,” the university statement said. “Privacy laws prohibited MU medical personnel from reporting anything Sasha might have shared with them about the alleged assault without her permission.”
The university said that was the first time it learned of “names of individuals who might have relevant information regarding the alleged February 2010 assault.” The information was turned over to Columbia police because the alleged assault occurred off campus.
Sasha Menu Courey was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder after the alleged assault, according to the ESPN report. Lynn Courey told ESPN she wants MU to provide what it knows with law enforcement.
“They should investigate,” she said. “Without a doubt.”