No Charges In Alleged Notre Dame Sex Assault
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UPDATED 12/16/10 – 2:54 p.m. SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CBS) – Indiana prosecutors won’t seek criminal charges against a Notre Dame football player accused of sexually assaulting a St. Mary’s College student who later killed herself.
St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said in a news release that there wasn’t enough evidence to sustain charges. He also said that statements by 19-year-old Elizabeth “Lizzy” Seeberg would likely be inadmissible in court because of hearsay rules.
Seeberg, who is from north suburban Northbrook, committed suicide on Sept. 10.
Seeberg’s parents could not immediately be reached for comment on Dvorak’s decision, but they recently had criticized Notre Dame’s handling of the case.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger reports, Tom and Mary Seeberg, were speaking out in a Chicago Tribune interview because they say they are worried about how the university responds to women’s complaints of sex crimes.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Regine Schlesinger Reports
The Seebergs told the Tribune that they conducted only a superficial investigation into the alleged sexual assault, and still is not coming clean about what happened.
They said that going public is painful, given that they have had ties to Notre Dame for generations. But ultimately, Tom Seeberg said his family feels betrayed by the institution it has always loved.
They also questioned why a timeline they received from Notre Dame shows it took police two weeks to interview the football player their daughter accused of assault.
Janet Botz, Notre Dame’s vice president of public affairs and communications, wrote in an e-mail to faculty, staff and students in response to the Chicago Tribune article that privacy laws prohibits it from discussing specific disciplinary cases. But she said the university conducts “all investigations of potential student violations of the law or university policies with the utmost professionalism.”
Spokesman Dennis Brown said the school had no immediate comment on Dvorak’s decision. Messages seeking comment from football coach Brian Kelly were left by the AP for Brian Hardin, Notre Dame’s director of football media relations, at his office and on his cell phone.
Dvorak said the Seeberg made two separate allegations against two Notre Dame students, one of whom was an athlete. He said the first allegation involved the touching of her breasts on Aug. 31 by the athlete. The second complaint was about text messages received by Seeberg from the other student on Sept. 2.
Dvorak said only Seeberg and the athlete were present during the alleged assault. He said statements were taken from those two and a female friend.
“Conflicts exist among the witnesses’ accounts of the events given to the police. Subpoenaed cell phone records are inconsistent with parts of the complaint itself,” he said.
Dvorak did not return a telephone message from the AP more seeking information about the conflicts and the cell phone records.
He said text messages sent to Seeberg on Sept. 2 by the other student did not rise to the level of a criminal act,
“The student subjectively believed Ms. Seeberg’s complaint was false and therefore he had a legitimate purpose for his text messages,” Dvorak wrote.
Dvorak said his office began investigating the case on Nov. 17, after campus police handed the office its reports.
(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)