Officials Won't Prosecute Notre Dame Assault Case

Illustration for article titled Officials Won't Prosecute Notre Dame Assault Case

The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office has announced it won't prosecute the alleged sexual battery that led college student Elizabeth Seeberg to take her own life. Nor will the person who sent her a threatening text be charged.


According to the Notre Dame-St. Mary's College Observer, the Office has decided not to prosecute the Notre Dame football player Seeberg accused of battery because it's "unlikely that Seeberg's statements would be admissible in court because of her death." And according to the Chicago Tribune, Notre Dame is now saying they may not release details of Seeberg's accusations to her grieving parents. Some of those details have been made public, though, including this chilling one: after the alleged battery (which in Indiana is defined as "the unwanted touching of another person to satisfy one's own sexual desires"), a friend of the suspect sent Seeberg this text: "Don't do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea." St. Joseph's County prosecutors have said this message doesn't constitute harassment, and they won't be prosecuting its sender either.

The Seebergs' lawyer reportedly asked Notre Dame for three things regarding their daughter's assault: "a full and vigorous investigation surrounding the allegations; transparency of the investigative process; and an "appropriate disciplinary response" from the university." So far, they appear to have gotten none of these. Notre Dame won't publicly discuss the way it's dealt with the case, and when the Seebergs' lawyer sent the university president a letter explaining their position, he refused to even read it "because it contained facts about the case and could interfere with his role in the school's disciplinary process." Says Elizabeth's father Tom Seeberg,

Ultimately, there's a sense of betrayal. There's a sense of the university not living its values. … It is not our intention to take down this great institution. But it has disappointed us. That hurts, and it hurts our family.

Prosecutor's Office Declines To Prosecute In Seeberg Case [NDSMCObserver]
'It Feels Like A Betrayal' [Chicago Tribune]

Earlier: Prosecutor Speaks Out On Notre Dame Assault Cover-Up

Student Commits Suicide After Alleged Sexual Assault By Notre Dame Football Player




Hi all, I've been a daily jezebel lurker for some time now and decided that this was the right time to join. I am a senior at Notre Dame and having spent one year at Saint Mary's as well, think I can lend some insight from the student perspective as to what is going on with the unfortunate Seeburg case.

I think it is important to note that there is a deep-rooted superiority complex when it comes to Notre Dame's attitude towards Saint Mary's on primarily the part of the students but also the administration. As a student of both institutions , I have experienced both ends of the discrimination, but it must be said that there is a strong stereotype towards Saint Mary's girls as second-rate "unintelligent sluts". Scantily-dressed girls at freshman parties are assumed to be Saint Marys girls, their bus that commutes back and forth between the two campuses at night is known as the "Sluttle", and so forth. So needless to say, there is a culture of degrading the Saint Mary's girls at Notre Dame.

That said, our football team without a doubt lives in a world of continual degradation of women. Lizzy happened to the brave one and come forward and do what I would imagine many girls have considered doing, as the players' friend's text affirms. At a party a couple years back at a player's house, I witnessed a girl pounding on one of the bedroom doors screaming that her friend "was too drunk to know what was happening", and when the door opened there were 3 football players and one very drunk and partially undressed girl that stumbled out. I've heard friends' stories of players just randomly whipping their dick out to show them, asking if they wanted to hook up. Being a college student, I always just sort of assumed this was the way that the realm of the glorified athlete system worked, that many schools boast these critical flaws, but either way it is the thing I find least attractive about my school.

Either way, I will say that the friend's threatening text is a testament to the emphasis that Notre Dame places on PR, particularly when it comes to the football program. I wouldn't be surprised if this whole situation somehow becomes an incredibly quiet ordeal, and the media (is paid) to quit talking about it. Either way, I am encouraged that this discussion has been prompted, although by such unfortunate circumstances. It is a downright tragedy that a death had to occur for the multitude of sexual abuse incidents and general mistreatment of women at Notre Dame to be exposed.