University of Iowa Athletic Staff Conspired to Cover Up a Sexual Assault?

Illustration for article titled University of Iowa Athletic Staff Conspired to Cover Up a Sexual Assault?

A fellow student-athlete at Iowa alleged she was sexually assaulted by two football players on October 14, 2007. Within 36 hours of the assault the victim reported the incident to the highest levels of the Iowa Athletic department. Including athletic director Gary Barta, head football coach Kirk Ferentz, associate athletic director Fred Mims, and a faculty member. According to the victim's mother all of these individuals encouraged the victim to allow them to handle an on campus investigation rather than reporting the assault to authorities.


Left to handle the investigation, the mother states Iowa officials did nothing for over three weeks. In fact, one of the alleged perpetrators even moved in three doors down from the victim, and the victim says she was constantly harassed by the men and received no protection from university officials. Ultimately, she contacted the local police on November 5, over three weeks after the assault. This finally prompted an action from Iowa. On November 13, Coach Ferentz announced that the two players charged with sexual assault were suspended. Although he did not disclose why the two men were suspended. This was almost a month after he became aware of the sexual assault allegations.

On November 19, 2007 the victim's mother contacted University President Sally Mason. The Des Moines Register reports:

"She shared her concern but told me in no uncertain terms that she very rarely gets involved with things of this nature. Isn't that the truth? Me neither," the letter read.

"I believe that she is involved whether she wants to be or not as she is giving statements to the press. I told her she might like to take a minute with me and she simply told me she would direct me to someone who handles these things. My question today is WHO IS THAT PERSON AND WHERE HAVE THEY BEEN FOR THE PAST FIVE WEEKS?" the letter stated.

One of the best blogs to cover Iowa athletics, Black Heart Gold Pants has already called for all involved to resign.
Things don't get much uglier for a college athletics department. And it's going to get a lot worse before everything about this case is unveiled. Until then, a university has to explain why they encouraged a student athlete not to report a sexual assault. Which is entirely inexplicable. Ugly days have arrived in Iowa and it's not even winter.

Mother: U of I wanted assault kept quiet [Des Moines Register]
Alleged victim's mom criticizes UI [Press-Citizen]
Into the Light [Black Heart Gold Pants]