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LSU Associate AD Files State Court Whistleblower Suit

Paul Steinbach

Louisiana State University associate athletic director Sharon Lewis has filed another lawsuit against LSU and several of its current and former administrators and board members over the way she says she was treated for reporting sexual misconduct and violence within the university’s athletic department.

The latest suit was filed in state court late last month, on the heels of a federal suit filed by Lewis earlier this spring.

In both suits, Lewis alleges she was subjected to a hostile work environment and years of retaliation for repeatedly trying to report sexual harassment allegations involving former head football coach Les Miles. 

But unlike Lewis’ federal suit, which bases the allegations on violations of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that protects against discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions, her state suit alleges she was wronged under the state’s whistleblower statute, which prohibits retaliation against an employee for reporting a violation of state law.

According to the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, the state laws Lewis claims in her suit to have been violated and that she was retaliated against for trying to report to LSU superiors include: intentional discrimination in employment, sexual battery, battery of a dating partner and simple battery.

The suit recounts many of the same details about Miles’ demand that Lewis, who was in charge of recruiting for the football program, hire more attractive female student workers with “big boobs,” instead of girls who were “too fat, too ugy, too black … “ and looked like “a bowling team,” court documents say.

Several former female students also have sued in federal court alleging Title IX violations, and two separate federal agencies are still investigating the university in connection with the scandals and a regional higher ed accrediting body is reviewing LSU’s accreditation status because of allegations made public earlier this year.

Related: Education Department Investigating LSU Campus Safety

LSU responded by announcing a series of reforms, including the creation of a new, enhanced Title IX and civil rights office to investigate and address reports of sexual violence and misconduct on campus.

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