St. Louis University expects to receive the preliminary report in its Title IX investigation into sexual assault allegations against members of the men's basketball team from its external investigator this week, SLU president Fred Pestello wrote in an email sent campus wide this afternoon.
It is the first official update on the process, which began with a statement from Pestello on Sept. 26 — two days after the alleged offenses took place.
Pestello acknowledged Monday that the investigation has stretched beyond the 60-day period that is offered as guidance in federal regulations for such cases.
"While the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy states that the internal Title IX process (investigation, hearing, and appeal) will be completed in 60 days, it allows that process to be extended for 'good cause,' such as the 'complexity of the circumstances of each allegation, and the integrity and completeness of the investigation,'" Pestello wrote. "This is the reason this case has extended beyond the 60-day goal."
The initial report indicated that three women had alleged an assault by four players. Three players — guards Adonys Henriquez, Jermaine Bishop and Ty Graves — have not played in nor attended any of SLU's seven games thus far.
According to the SLU student handbook, both parties in the investigation will have five days to submit further information to be considered before the report is final.
The final report will include a recommendation on whether the information that has been gathered shows that "prohibited conduct" took place. The recommendation is then given to a "hearing officer," who holds the final responsibility regarding the matter.
Here is a timeline of the investigation (below it is the full statement from Pestello):
Sept. 22: Secretary of education Betsy DeVos alters Title IX guidelines regarding campus sexual assault investigations. The new guidance includes the elimination of the recommended 60-day limit.
Sept. 24: Three women report alleged sexual assaults by four St. Louis University athletes at a local hospital at 2:30 a.m.
Sept. 26: SLU president Fred Pestello announces that the university has started a Title IX investigation into the allegations with the assistance of an outside firm, a common practice in such situations.
Sept. 28: Two attorneys confirm they are representing SLU basketball players who are implicated. One attorney is representing three players and another attorney is representing one player.
Sept. 30: SLU holds its first basketball practice of the preseason but it is closed to the media, adding to the mystery of whether any personnel decisions have been made.
Oct. 13: Coach Travis Ford talks to the media for the first time during the preseason but repeatedly says “I can't comment on anything” when asked about the investigation.
Oct. 19: A national expert on Title IX notes that complex cases can take more than 60 days and says, "Three reporting parties and four (players) is probably something that might add to the complexity of that case."
Nov. 4: SLU plays an exhibition game against Harris-Stowe. Three players are not in uniform or at the arena. The university declines to comment on the reason for their absence.
Nov. 10: The Billikens play their first regular-season game without the same three players, leaving them with only eight scholarship players available out of a maximum of 13.
Nov. 14: The team travels to New York for two games at Madison Square Garden. Two of the missing players travel with the team and participate in practices outside of MSG.
Nov. 16: SLU upsets Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference with its reduced lineup. Virginia Tech has yet to suffer another loss.
Nov. 23: Day 60 of the Title IX investigation.
Nov. 28: SLU suffers its third consecutive loss and freshman starting center Hasahn French is injured. St. Louis police say that the criminal investigation remains open.
Dec. 2: With French unable to play due to an ankle injury, SLU is down to seven scholarship players for a game at Butler. The Bulldogs win easily 75-45.
Dec. 4: Pestello sends a campus-wide email updating the status of the investigation. He says the university expects the initial report from the outside firm sometime this week.
Here is the entire statement from Pestello:
Dear Members of the SLU Community,
I write to update the SLU community on the Title IX investigation initiated on September 25, 2017. At that time, the University Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity began its review process, and we chose to bring in an external investigator who specializes in assisting colleges and universities with the investigative portion of alleged sexual misconduct cases.
While the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy states that the internal Title IX process (investigation, hearing, and appeal) will be completed in 60 days, it allows that process to be extended for “good cause,” such as the “complexity of the circumstances of each allegation, and the integrity and completeness of the investigation.” This is the reason this case has extended beyond the 60-day goal.
We expect the University will receive the preliminary investigatory report from the external investigator this week, after which the next phase of the process, as detailed in the policy, will begin.
I wish to affirm that SLU seeks to foster a safe and supportive atmosphere where all members of our community can flourish. Each of us must play an active role in contributing to an inclusive environment — free from harassment and harm. Additionally, it is absolutely critical that our Title IX process is followed in a thorough, fair, impartial, and confidential manner; and that the University provides support to all of our students. This is how we have proceeded, and this is how we will continue to proceed.
Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.