Almost two months after terrible tragedy, there is an ugly situation brewing on campus at Notre Dame.
On September first of this year, Elizabeth Seeberg, a 19-year-old freshman, reported to Notre Dame Campus Police that she had been sexually assaulted the day before by a Notre Dame football player.
Elizabeth did everything she could to follow the correct protocols after this terrible personal event. She told her friends and family about the assault. She wrote down what had happened in a hand-written statement. She sought treatment at a local hospital and consented to a DNA evidence kit. She reported the assault to Notre Dame campus police. She sought counseling
The alleged attack took place August 31
The accused attacker is still kitting up, playing football for Notre Dame. The accused played yesterday in the game against Army. Elizabeth Seeberg died September 10 of a suspected overdose of a drug prescribed to her for depression and anxiety.
What happened in the ten days between the alleged assault and Elizabeth’s death?
Until this weekend, there was no statement, no communication, no nothing from Notre Dame.
Furthermore, more than two months later, Notre Dame refuses to publicly acknowledge what actions university officials have taken to investigate her allegation. St. Joseph County Police Department officials have gone on record to say that Notre Dame campus authorities did not tell them about her report of a sexual attack nor did they refer the case to the county's special victims unit. A campus police log, which is probably going to be mentioned a lot in the coming weeks, shows the matter was assigned and then kept within the department.
Worryingly Notre Dame appears to be dangerously close to appearing to attempt a cover up.
Bear in mind the appropriate agencies are saying Notre Dame did not contact them at the time of the incident, and then read this from their official statement on the situation;
"We take our obligation seriously, we involve law enforcement officials as appropriate, and we act in accordance with the facts."
So, either law enforcement or the college are lying.
By saying (and doing) nothing, Notre Dame have said everything they need to say. They have left themselves open to questions of a very serious nature.
Perhaps worst of all, Notre Dame’s coach Brian Kelly, when asked about the incident, said ; "If someone was late for a meeting, the university would not deal with that,"
So a player’s punctuality is on the same par as a player allegedly sexually assaulting a young woman who subsequently and tragically killed herself?
The school could have headed all of this off at the pass, and in turn protected its people, like Kelly, who are clearly poorly equipped, for whatever reason, to comment on the incident. When all is said and done, the burning issue is, a young woman did everything she could have done in reporting this incident in good faith and trust to the Notre Dame authorities. For whatever reason, Notre Dame then decided to sit on its hands. The correct response would have been to disclose all pertinent information to the correct authorities, and, to both investigate and indeed defend the player in question, discreetly take him out of the lineup.
The fact that the player is innocent until proven guilty is not up for debate. What is open for question and debate, however, is how Notre Dame have left themselves open to a world full of problems, if this player is proven to have assaulted the tragic central figure, and yet still is running around playing a game with the Notre Dame jersey on his back.
Some things are bigger than sports, and Notre Dame should have recognized that this was one of them.