Remember that one time I wrote about Les Miles being a creepy S.O.B during his time as head football coach at LSU? Well now LSU associate athletic director Sharon Lewis has filed a $50 million federal racketeering lawsuit against university officials for retaliating against her for reporting racist and remarks and inappropriate sexual behavior by Miles.
“Members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, LSU Athletic Department, LSU Leadership and their law firm, Taylor Porter entered into a conspiracy to hide Les Miles’ sexual harassment investigation from federal officials and the public and to retaliate against Ms. Lewis,” attorney Tammye Brown said, per WAFB-TV’s Lester Duhne “Over the last eight years, Ms. Lewis has stood up to protect LSU female student workers and as a result has suffered unimaginable retaliation sanctioned by the LSU Board of Supervisors.”
As a reminder, Les Miles was reportedly investigated internally by LSU in 2013. In a USA Today report, the accusations against Miles include texting female students, taking them to his condo alone, making them feel uncomfortable and, on at least one occasion, kissing a student and suggesting they go to a hotel after telling her he could help her career. Miles also was accused by athletic department staff of saying that the female student workers who helped the football team lure top recruits needed to be “attractive, blond and fit,” according to the investigative report. Existing student employees who did not meet this criteria should be given fewer hours or terminated, the report details.
Lewis serves as the associate athletics director for football recruiting and alumni relations, putting her square in the middle of the mess. She said officials, including Miles, executive deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry, and senior associate athletic director Miriam Segar “tormented her” after she reported the allegations against the coach.
Lewis spoke with USA Today’s Kenny Jacoby before the news of the impending lawsuit. “Lewis said Miles harassed and undermined her for years, trying to sexualize the group of student workers she supervised,” Jacoby wrote. “Ausberry verbally abused [Lewis], and he and Segar lied to an LSU Title IX investigator to get her in trouble.”
Lewis also alleges Miles “repeatedly pressured” her to replace Black student workers on the recruiting staff “with blond women or light-skinned Black women whom he considered prettier.”
In the press conference held by attorney Tammye Brown, she continued, “Members of the LSU Board of Supervisors, LSU Athletic Department, LSU Leadership and their law firm, Taylor Porter, entered into a conspiracy to hide Les Miles’ sexual harassment investigation from federal officals and the public and to retaliate against Ms. Lewis. Over the last eight years, Ms. Lewis has stood up to protect LSU female student workers and as a result has suffered unimaginable retaliation sanctioned by the LSU Board of Supervisors.
“Accusations as serious as a university allowing a man demonstrating racist behavior and sexual harassment to continue to keep his job because there’s more of a priority on the football program than human decency, while punishing someone for speaking up on behavior that should in no way be tolerated, and deserves to be thoroughly investigated.”