Every fall for the past five years, 74-year-old Gloria Scott has made the trip from her home five miles south to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, where she works part-time security at football games.
Scott has lived her entire life in New Orleans. She loves football, has been a Saints fan since 1967 and an Louisiana State University Tigers fan for almost as long.
She remembers vividly the day in December 2017 that Derrius Guice, LSU’s then-standout running back, and his friends approached her while she was sitting at her post outside Elevator 8 in Bunker G.
She glanced up, and they stopped right in front of her.
“I like to f— women like you, you older women, because y’all know y’all like us young men to f— y’all,” Scott said Guice told her “And, you know you want this body.”
Scott was shocked, she said. Guice kept making vulgar comments while rubbing his body up and down, from his chest to his genitals. She said she asked Guice to move away and leave her alone, but he refused. He had a big grin on his face, she said, and his friends were on his sides, laughing. This went on for a few minutes, Scott said. She felt degraded.
She complained to LSU athletic department administrators, the school’s student accountability director, and directly to Guice’s head coach, Ed Orgeron. Nothing happened, she said. Guice, who despite being accused of sexual misconduct three times before this incident, was never disciplined by the school.
Scott said she tried to put the incident out of her mind but now, three years later, is speaking out. She was prompted, she said, by the mention of the incident in a 148-page report by the law firm Husch Blackwell that was released earlier this month by LSU. The school had hired the firm in November to investigate its handling of sexual misconduct cases, in response to investigative reporting by USA TODAY.
Scott choked back tears Friday as she testified before the Louisiana Senate Select Committee on Women and Children about the incident and the school’s handling of it. She shared her story with USA TODAY beforehand. The committee has been holding hearings on the school’s failure to comply with Title IX requirements to report and investigate incidents of sexual misconduct.
“December this year is going to be four years ago it happened,” she told USA TODAY. “It’s just like it was yesterday. I don’t know, maybe I might not never get over this until I die. And I’m serious.”
In his interview with Husch Blackwell, Orgeron denied having direct communications with Scott. Oregeron said Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar “told us about the incident,” and Segar, Deputy Athletic Director Verge Ausberry and an attorney for the Baton Rouge law firm Taylor Porter “did an investigation.” But Orgeron said he himself “was not sure happened.”
Orgeron lied to investigators about not speaking to Scott, she and her granddaughter told USA TODAY. The granddaughter, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation by her employer, said she was listening when Orgeron talked to her grandmother on speakerphone.
There was no mistaking his deep, Cajun “frog voice,” they both said.
“Coach O is telling a lie,” Scott said, as tears rolled down her cheek. “He’s not telling the truth. I don’t have no reason to lie. I know who I was talking to. He knows he talked to me.”
Husch Blackwell investigators did not contact Scott about her complaint, nor was she aware that LSU had documented it. She learned about it after her granddaughter saw a reference to it on Twitter and recognized the unnamed 70-year-old woman in the report as her grandmother.
Even more painful than the experience itself, Scott said, is how LSU athletic department officials handled her complaint. They told her that Guice was probably just kidding, that he came from a broken home and that she should just accept his apology.
When she demanded he face discipline by sitting out the Citrus Bowl, Scott said, school officials ignored her and then ultimately called her to say nothing would happen. It was her word against his.
“I felt that not playing in that game would hurt him more than anything,” Scott told USA TODAY. “Because if it was my son or my grandsons, and I knew he did that, and they were playing sports, I personally myself would make sure they didn’t play.
“I didn’t think I was asking too much.”
Not the first encounter with Guice
Scott spent 24 years as a room service manager at the Hyatt, then another five at the Hyatt in the security department, she told USA TODAY.
After Hurricane Katrina cost her the job, she got a new gig with a private security company and began working the graveyard shift at a local racetrack. She still works evening and overnight shifts at a downtown office building three days a week and, come football season, games at the Superdome.
The first time Scott saw Guice in person was when LSU played Brigham Young University at the Superdome in September 2017. Guice and his family had been hanging around at the stadium about an hour after the game ended, and Scott’s job was to ask them to leave. When she did, Guice and his family refused, she said. Scott said she then told one of Guice’s coaches, who spoke to him, only for Guice to then curse out the coach.
“I looked at this young man, and I said, ‘This young man’s not going anywhere,’” Scott said. “I felt his spirit. I did. He’s not going anywhere in life. Because he have no respect. And he’s very disrespectful. Nobody else had a problem but him.”
That was the impression Scott had of Guice when she saw him again at the Superdome on Dec. 9, 2017, while she was working the high school football state championships.
After Guice made his vulgar comments and gestures, Scott said she told him she was a grandmother and asked him to show her respect.
“‘Young man, respect me,’” she recalled saying. “‘I am a grandmother, and I have grandkids. How would you like somebody to talk to your grandmother this way and handle this like that?’ I said, ‘My grandsons are not like this.’ And he told me, ‘F— your grandsons. They don’t know nothing, you and I are going to the hotel so I could f— you.’”
After about four minutes of harassment, Scott said, Guice and his friends got in the elevator and left. That night, Scott told her sister, one of her daughters and her granddaughter, who was living with her at the time, what had happened.
Four days later, Scott decided to inform LSU.
Sit out the Citrus Bowl
How LSU responded to Scott’s complaint is detailed in the Husch Blackwell report.
According to the report, football recruiting director Sharon Lewis got a call on Dec. 13 from someone demanding to speak with Orgeron about a sexual harassment incident with Guice.
Scott disputes that she demanded to speak to Orgeron and only wanted to report Guice’s behavior. Scott said Lewis told her Guice had a tough upbringing and didn’t mean any harm, and that Scott should go easy on him. Lewis then said she would discuss the matter with Orgeron, Scott said.
The next day, Scott said, she got a call from Lewis and Orgeron. The coach introduced himself and said Guice was in the room and wanted to apologize.
Scott said she didn’t want an apology; she wanted accountability. She said Orgeron and Lewis begged her to let Guice apologize, saying he was sad and had his head down. Scott said she refused to speak to him.
When Scott suggested Guice sit out the upcoming Citrus Bowl, she said, Orgeron promised to get back to her but never did.
Guice led LSU in rushing in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, 2018, against Notre Dame. The Tigers lost 21-17. The next month, the NFL’s Washington Football Team drafted Guice in the second round.
The team released him in August, after he was arrested for multiple domestic violence charges against his then-girlfriend, including strangling her until she lost consciousness.
According to the Husch Blackwell report, Lewis reported Scott’s account to Senior Associate Athletic Director Miriam Segar and Deputy Athletic Director Verge Ausberry. No one, however, reported the incident to the Title IX coordinator, as LSU policy required.
The Title IX office learned about it six days later, when Scott called the student accountability office directly. The Husch Blackwell report notes that Jonathan Sanders, the director of student accountability, took Scott’s report and then reached out to Segar, who indicated she “was aware of the information” and had been “notified about a week ago.”
That Segar did not inform the Title IX office, Husch Blackwell said, “was an error.” Segar also told the law firm “the President’s office was aware of the situation,” but there are no records indicating the president’s office reported it to the Title IX office either, the Husch Blackwell report shows.
Instead, Segar said the athletic department conducted its own investigation, which entailed interviewing Guice and a fellow football player present for the encounter, both of whom denied that it occurred. According to Segar, the athletic department consulted with “their attorney” at the Baton Rouge law firm Taylor Porter and decided they “don’t see an LSU athletics connection to the behavior if it was true.”
Husch Blackwell noted that this was “not the standard for assessing whether a report should have been made,” nor should athletics have conducted its own investigation.
“This was a call for the Title IX coordinator to make,” Husch Blackwell said.
Sanders ultimately forwarded his report to Title IX coordinator Jennie Stewart, who said she did not believe the incident constituted prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX. This, despite the fact that it was the fourth sexual misconduct complaint the university had received about Guice. Stewart did not explain her rationale, Husch Blackwell noted.
LSU’s then-general counsel Tom Skinner, who now holds the same role at the University of San Diego, supported Stewart’s decision, the Husch Blackwell report shows. Sanders closed the case, writing in the file that the “issue is now being overseen under the direction of Tom Skinner” and to “please call him if there are questions.”
According to Scott, about a week after her call with Orgeron and Lewis, Segar and Ausberry called her. They informed her that they would not be suspending Guice for the Citrus Bowl, nor would they be pursuing any disciplinary action against him.
“I said, ‘So in other words, what he did me is okay with you all? Y’all fine with that, huh? Evidently, y’all fine with that,’” Scott said. “They said, ‘Well Ms. Scott, we just can’t do this. We can’t do this at all. After all, you know, it’s his word against your word.’”
LSU general counsel Winston DeCuir has since said Guice was no longer enrolled as a student, and therefore couldn’t be disciplined. He was still eligible to play in the Tigers’ upcoming bowl game, DeCuir said.
Not about money
After LSU dismissed her, Scott said, she shared her story with a reporter at a New Orleans TV news outlet, but it never aired. Scott said the reporter told her LSU claimed she was trying to extort the school for money. Scott did not remember the reporter’s name.
“I was never trying to get no money from them,” Scott said. “I only asked him not to play in that game. If he wouldn’t have played in that game, I’d have been satisfied.”
Scott’s granddaughter also said her grandmother never asked about money. After LSU brought up legal action, she said, her grandmother decided to drop the issue.
“It was never about money,” the granddaughter said. “She was disrespected and humiliated and just felt he should sit out that game. So for them to come on that level and say, ‘You’re trying to extort us out of money,’ she decided to leave it alone, leave it in God’s hands. It’s a situation that’s just left a sour taste in our mouths.”
Scott and her granddaughter didn’t know it at the time, but her sexual misconduct complaint was at least the fourth that the athletic department had received against Guice in less than a two-year span. All four complaints went uninvestigated by LSU, in violation of federal and LSU policies.
As USA TODAY reported in August, Guice was reported to athletic department officials for two separate rapes of LSU students in January 2016 and April 2017. Both women told the news organization they were highly intoxicated at the time.
The Husch Blackwell report confirms that Segar and other university administrators were aware of both rape complaints. But Segar said she intentionally omitted Guice’s name from one of the reports she filed, in order to prevent it from surfacing in response to a public records request.
“Because of this omission, when Guice was accused of subsequent misconduct by other students as discussed below, this initial report was not considered or revisited,” the Husch Blackwell report said.
Husch Blackwell also noted that no one from the Title IX office ever attempted to contact the second woman, Abby Owens, a former LSU tennis player, about investigating her complaint. “This was an error,” Husch Blackwell said.
In July 2016, Samantha Brennan, another former student who worked in LSU’s football recruiting office, reported to both Lewis and Segar that Guice had taken a nude photograph of her without her knowledge and shared it with others on the football team. Rather than reporting it to the Title IX office, Segar steered Brennan to the campus police department, where she filed a police report.
No one from the Title IX office ever reached out to Brennan. Four years later, she and USA TODAY had to sue LSU to get a full, unredacted copy of her report. LSU fought in court for months to keep Guice’s name shielded from public view, only acquiescing when the Louisiana legislature demanded LSU release it to her earlier this month.
In November, USA TODAY published a story detailing Brennan’s account and other failures by LSU to appropriately respond to sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints. In response, LSU hired Husch Blackwell to investigate its handling of Title IX cases.
Husch Blackwell’s 148-page report, published March 5, described LSU’s handling of such complaints as a “serious institutional failure,” created by campus leaders who never spent enough money, left investigative offices understaffed and, ultimately, left students at risk and neglected the trauma that abuse victims experience.
After the report, LSU suspended Ausberry and Segar for 30 and 21 days without pay, respectively. No other employees have been disciplined.
Scott’s granddaughter saw the report being discussed on Twitter the day after it came out and quickly recognized her grandmother’s story in it. She called Scott and showed it to her. For Scott, the tears started all over again.
“To hear all of the other allegations, it wasn’t surprising to us,” the granddaughter said. “If you can disrespect a 70-year-old woman like that, you can do much worse.”