Madison Brooks’ sexual assault reignites concerns over LSU | News

As Samantha Brennan delved into the details of Madison Brooks’ recent rape and death after a night in Tigerland, she was struck by the similarities between her own 2016 case and Brooks’ last night.

Brennan, too, had been drinking at bars near campus, met a man, and trusted him to get her home safely. She woke up with few memories of what had happened the night before, but had a text on her phone from then-soccer star Derrius Guice saying he had left his wallet in his apartment. And about a week later, friends told her that a partially nude photo of her was circulating among LSU football players, which she reported to the police.

While Brennan would become an advocate for sexual assault survivors and speak out about LSU’s mishandling of her case, Brooks would not make it to the next sunrise. After getting into a car on January 15 with four men she met at Reggie’s bar, police said two of them raped her, then dropped her off on Burbank Drive, where she later was hit by a car and killed.

Police have arrested Kaivon Washington, 18, and an unnamed juvenile suspect for third-degree rape, which prosecutors say could be escalated to first-degree rape. They also arrested 18-year-old Casen Carver and 28-year-old Everett Lee for third-degree primary rape. None were students at LSU, the university said.

“We weren’t an isolated year where all of this happened in 2016,” Brennan said in an interview Wednesday. “It happened and it continues to happen.”

Sexual assaults and alcohol-related deaths involving LSU LSU students have come under intense scrutiny in recent years, as Brennan and many other women have sued the university for failing to keep predators from move around campus. Among these was Guice: Brennan was among a number of women who alleged he had sexually assaulted or harassed them while on campus, although he was never arrested in those instances .

A lawyer for Guice has previously denied doing anything wrong while at LSU.

Law firm Husch Blackwell released a report in 2021 at LSU’s request that found the university failed to devote the necessary resources to investigate and prevent student sexual assault. The U.S. Department of Education also opened two investigations that year into LSU’s crime reporting procedures and the university’s compliance with federal Title IX laws that govern how institutions respond to crime reports. sexual assault.

But while LSU has invested nearly $3 million in expanding its Title IX office, some say Brooks’ case shows how far the university still has to go. In the wake of her death, LSU President William Tate said he would pursue “a deep and unrelenting focus on any institution that benefits our students by providing underage alcohol.” He described what happened to Brooks as “evil.”

State regulators suspended Reggie’s liquor license on Tuesday.

Attorney Mimi Methvin, who represents a group of women who sued LSU in 2021 over an alleged serial predator from France who was an LSU graduate student, questioned Tate’s statement. She said the focus on alcohol “reinforces myths that protect rapists and blame women for their own assaults.”

“In the tragic case of Ms. Brooks, records show that her rapists saw her fall into the bar several times and once in the car the first rapist asked her ‘five times’ to consent to sex” , said Methvin. on affidavits of arrest. “She was suffering from alcohol poisoning and they knew she was incapacitated, which made her easy prey.”

Cody Worsham, a spokesperson for LSU, said Wednesday that Tate’s message was “directed against perpetrators and the institutions that allow them to weaponize alcohol against our students.”

“Honoring Madison’s life compels us to take every step possible to protect students,” Worsham said. “Going after bars that serve minors in our community is one of many strategies proposed by the President.

A Washington attorney said in court Tuesday that state law does not clearly define the threshold at which a victim would be too drunk to consent to sex, but police said in arrest documents that the rate Brooks’ blood alcohol level was .319 – enough to give someone alcohol. poisoning and rendering them unconscious. Lawyers for Carver and Lee also said in court that there was no evidence that they aided or abetted Brooks’ rape.

The state’s Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center, known as STAR, released a statement Wednesday saying it will continue consent and healthy relationship training this year at the Louisiana Legislature in the state. hope to prevent future tragedies.

“Perpetrators use alcohol as a weapon to facilitate rape,” their statement reads. “If someone who wasn’t a rapist had pulled Madison out of the bar on January 15, 2023, she likely would have been taken to a safe place — and still be alive today.”

LSU contracted with STAR in 2021 after the Husch Blackwell report was released to help train staff on campus. But the university refused to renew its contract with them last year.