LSU defends decision to redact names from police report accusing Derrius Guice of sexual misconduct
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A judge will decide Monday, Nov. 30, whether LSU has to name Derrius Guice in a police report accusing him of video voyeurism.
Samantha Brennan, a former student, says Guice took a nude photo of her without permission and sent it around. She filed a complaint with LSUPD, but did not pursue charges.
After a number of other women accused Guice of sexual misconduct or rape, Brennan accused Guice of voyeurism in a USA Today article detailing the university’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations.
Brennan filed a public records request to see the contents of the police report she made against Guice. The university turned the report over to her after she told the paper she would not press charges, but the school redacted Guice’s, Brennan’s, and a witness’s name.
The newspaper and Brennan are suing to make those names public, even though they are already identified in the USA Today article.
Generally, LSU redacts names in police reports that do not lead to an arrest. This prevents students from smearing other students in the press by making unfounded accusations public before an investigation is completed.
Because Brennan chose not to pursue charges, the university ended its investigation into Guice’s behavior. There was no opportunity to produce evidence against the star running back.
“The other people in that report had no idea she included their names. There was an accused and there was a witness. You’re releasing the names of folks who have no idea their name is actually in a police report,” LSU’s attorney, Winston Decuir, Jr., said.
The school maintains the names should stay redacted to protect those individual’s privacy.
But Brennan’s attorneys say LSU is supposed to treat each case differently, weighing the accused’s right to privacy against the public’s right to know. Attorney Scott Sternberg, representing the paper and Brennan, says LSU rules in favor of privacy, usually without fail, to avoid lawsuits.
“The redactions that are in those records are incorrect. I don’t believe the accused here has any right to privacy. Everyone here knows exactly what his name is. I don’t believe the Ms. Brennan does either because she’s been public in a national newspaper about this exact incident,” said Scott Sternberg, attorney for Brennan and USA Today.
Brennan wants the school to pay her legal fees, probably around $10,000, and seeks additional compensation. But the attorneys are largely arguing the case on principle since each party’s name is already public.
Judge Janice Clark will issue a written ruling Monday.
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