Sasha Menu Courey: MU Turns Student Athlete Rape Case Over to Columbia Police
|Sasha Menu Courey|
"No one on the coaching staff [sic] and no one in our administration nor any staff members were to the best of our knowledge ever told about this event while Sasha [Menu Courey] was alive," Chad Moller, spokesman for Mizzou athletics, wrote to the ESPN reporters in December, according to a letter released by the sports network. "Had Sasha [Menu Courey] told any of our staff that she felt she had been assaulted, we expect that our staff would have reported it immediately to the proper authorities."
ESPN's investigation found several specific instances when officials may have learned about Menu Courey's assault, prompting a point-by-point explanation from the university:
A disputed telephone call
Before committing suicide in a Boston facility that specialized in patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (like Menu Courey), she writes in her journal that she told Meghan Anderson, then a staffer with MU athletics, that she was raped, according to ESPN.
Menu Courey writes that Anderson doesn't respond except to wish her well during recovery.
Anderson says the assault never came up during that phone call. She tells ESPN and the Mizzou athletics department that she and Menu Courey only talked about her future.
Two sentences in the newspaper
On February 12, 2012, seven months after Menu Courey's suicide, the Columbia Daily Tribune printed a story about her heart, which was transplanted to a 26-year-old man, saving his life.
About halfway through, the story mentions a sexual assault: "Menu Courey also wrote in her diary months later that she was sexually assaulted at the end of her freshman year. She did not name the attacker."
Even if members of the MU athletics department are telling the truth that no one knew about Menu Courey's assault while she was alive, they knew after this story. The athletic director's executive assistant copied and pasted the article into an e-mail to the director and five other senior athletic department officials, according to ESPN.
But those two sentences in the paper didn't provide enough detail to open an investigation, according to the Mizzou athletic department.
"The article, appearing many months after Sasha's [Menu Courey] death, did not mention where the alleged assault occurred, much less suggest it occurred on or near campus, or whether any other students were involved," the athletic department says in a statement. "It defies reason to suggest that these two sentences should have prompted the University to investigate."
An online chat
Reading the transcript of Menu Courey's online chat with a sexual-assault counselor is heartbreaking. In it, she explains how she cried and fought two alleged attackers before finally pushing one off of her.
MU found the transcript and saved it as a draft in Menu Courey's university e-mail when her parents asked to see documents relating to their daughter.
In a January 2013 letter, Donell Young at Mizzou's office of student conduct asks Menu Courey's parents if they'd like to open an investigation based on that transcript, which gives few concrete details about the identity of the alleged attackers.
"In situations involving sexual incidents, my office gives great consideration to the wishes of the person reporting the incident as to whether an investigation should proceed," Young wrote Menu Courey's parents, according to a letter obtained by ESPN. "In this circumstance, I would give that consideration to your preference. Is this a matter that you wish our office to investigate?"
Menu Courey's parents never responded.
"We continue to believe that the university did the right thing in trying to be respectful of Sasha's [Menu Courey] parents and determine their wishes," the athletic department said. "We think it is strange and inappropriate for the university to be criticized for not undertaking an investigation when Sasha's [Menu Courey] parents chose not to respond to our request for their input."