Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Scott Woodward refused to testify at the hearing. He refused to comment to media, not the legislators. The Reveille regrets the error.
A 74-year-old Superdome worker who alleged that Derrius Guice sexually harassed her at a December 2017 high school football state championship game said that she reported the incident to Ed Orgeron, who refused to grant her request to suspend Guice from the team’s upcoming bowl game.
Orgeron denied to Husch Blackwell investigators that he ever spoke to the alleged victim, Gloria Scott. Scott and her granddaughter told USA Today that Orgeron lied to the firm.
“Coach O is telling a lie,” Scott said. “He’s not telling the truth. I don’t have no reason to lie. I know who I was talking to. He knows he talked to me.”
Scott testified in a Friday hearing before the Louisiana Senate’s Select Committee on Women and Children. The senators brought Scott in to speak, and invited LSU Board of Supervisors members and senior athletics administrators. LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward was in attendance. After eight hours of testimony, he did not testify, instead committing to speak at a later hearing, when the committee will likely request testimony from Orgeron as well.
Woodward refused comment to media after the session adjourned. As of March 29, Orgeron has not provided comment regarding Scott’s allegation.
The Friday session was the second hearing the committee convened to discuss LSU’s Title IX failures. The first, a marathon 10-hour hearing, was held on March 11. There, several survivors gave emotional testimony of their assaults and the University’s failure to address them. Lawmakers grilled Interim President Tom Galligan, who stood firm in his decision to suspend two athletic administrators.
During the latest hearing, Scott said that she spoke on the phone to Orgeron shortly after the incident. Orgeron told Scott that Guice was “just kidding” and asked her to forgive the star running back, offering him to apologize. Scott said she didn’t want to speak to Guice and asked that he be suspended from the team’s upcoming Citrus Bowl game.
At that point, at least three complaints of sexual misconduct against Guice had already come to LSU Athletics.
Orgeron refused to hold him out of the game, Scott said. In the Citrus Bowl, Guice rushed 21 times for 98 yards and caught three passes for another 24 yards and two touchdowns. LSU lost 21-17 to Notre Dame, and Guice then declared for the draft, where he was selected later than initially expected.
Scott’s case first came to light in Husch Blackwell’s report into LSU’s failed Title IX procedures. In a report that investigators reviewed, Scott said that Guice approached her with a few other men and said he “likes older women” and said he wanted to have intercourse with her using obscene language. He then said that they could just “go off and do it somewhere,” as the other men laughed, and Guice gestured at his private area and grabbed himself, the report said.
“I was so hurt and so nervous and so upset,” Scott said. “Never in my life have I had a man or child talk to me like he did.”
Scott then reached out to Sharon Lewis, an athletic department employee, who brought the complaint to two senior administrators, Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, per protocol at the time. But LSU’s Title IX office did not receive notice of the complaint until later, when Scott called Student Advocacy and Accountability (SAA) herself.
Neither LSU’s Title IX office nor SAA could take action against Guice, administrators said in the hearing, because at the time of the incident, Guice was no longer an LSU student. The case was outside of each office’s jurisdiction.
Husch Blackwell wrote in the report that Segar and athletics conducted their own investigation. They spoke to Guice and another athlete who was present for the alleged harassment, and each denied that the incident took place. Segar and athletics closed the case.
Scott said in the hearing that she was moved from her post at the Superdome after she reported about the incident because she would frequently interact with players there. She asked for the video of the incident, but Superdome officials would not give it to her unless she had an attorney, she said.
Scott also said she tried to report the alleged harassment to New Orleans Police to no avail. She said she feared retaliation from police officers. The senators bemoaned in the hearing that Scott “was failed at every level” and vowed to take some kind of action.
“We’re going to do more than listen,” Sen. Katrina Jackson said.
The lawmakers asked University representatives what the school would do if they found that Orgeron had, in fact, lied to Husch Blackwell.
“We will speak to Ms. Scott and speak to Coach O and we’ll get you an answer,” Winston DeCuir, general counsel, said. “If he lied, we’ll deal with Coach O.”
A representative of Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR) also testified at the hearing. The group later took to Twitter to criticize Orgeron for calling Guice’s alleged actions a “joke” and offering an apology.
“Sexual harassment is not a joke,” STAR’s statement read. “It is a tactic of power and control used to intimidate, coerce, threaten and humiliate someone based on their sex. [Scott] was 70. [Guice] was 20. She is a service worker at the Superdome. He (was) a famous college football player.
“When you compare Ms. Scott and Derrius Guice, who has more credibility in this situation?” the group asked. “The person who has multiple victims, or the woman trying to speak out against years of institutional oppression and sexism to prevent future victims of abuse?”
Scott grew emotional during the hearing, expressing her frustration that no one from the LSU athletic department took her claims seriously. Tears streamed down her face as she recalled the details.
“It doesn’t matter how good of a player they are,” Scott said, “you still have to do something. They have to be chastised.”
“It’s just like it was yesterday,” she told USA Today. “I don’t know, maybe I might not ever get over this until I die. And I’m serious.”