Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Christian Thing To Do?

There’s a sad but interesting article In Politics Daily that talks about the suicide of Lizzy Seeberg, a 19 year old freshman at St. Mary’s College, a sister school to Notre Dame University.  It seems Ms. Seeberg accused a Notre Dame football star of sexual assault and got no positive response from any authorities.  Fifteen days after she reported the incident she killed herself.  The football player, who in the article was unnamed, wasn’t even questioned by authorities until five days after Lizzy’s suicide. 
Lizzy described being terrified by this man to the point that she froze.  He allegedly fondled her until his cell phone rang and it was at that point he threw her aside and she was able to get away.  She did the right thing by reporting the incident but nothing was done.  The accused ball player wasn’t even suspended from playing while the incident was investigated, and still hasn’t been.  In fact, the incident has basically been forgotten by authorities since Lizzy is no longer around to testify.  Interestingly, the football player had violent incidents in his background including throwing a desk at a high school teacher who took his phone away in class.
Lizzy said she received a threatening text message from another football player after she reported the incident to the police that said “Don't do anything you would regret. Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea.''
Sounds like a sad case of he said, she said, I suppose.  But Lizzy Seeberg is dead.  And there’s more to the story that makes it even worse.  It seems that twelve of Lizzy’s family members are Notre Dame alumni, including her 85 year old grandfather, yet the President of Notre Dame, Father John Jenkins, refuses to even meet with the family and talk to them.  Citing advice from the school’ attorney, he won’t read a letter they wrote to him nor will he make any statement to the family of this poor, dead girl.  There has been no school investigation into the allegations made by Lizzy against the two football players, the one who assaulted her or the one who threatened her later. 
The lawyer the Seebergs hired just to get Notre Dame to communicate with them reported back that the school's general counsel, Marianne Corr, had this message for them: "I hope the Seebergs know how bad this could get for them'' if they ever went public.
Notre Dame is a Catholic school, supposedly a Christian school, yet this is how they treat a family who has twelve alumni in its ranks?  You’d think they’d be more interested in helping out an alumni family, wouldn’t you?
The Seeberg family is still working and fighting to get some answers.  With the help of a good attorney, and maybe some decent police work, maybe they can get justice for Lizzy.  I can’t say she was actually assaulted, nor can I say for sure that’s why she killed herself.  But the fact that she made the allegations then committed suicide definitely makes the entire incident worth investigating.  And Notre Dame’s actions, ignoring the incident like it didn’t happen and refusing to cooperate with the family in any way, is disgraceful.  This family needs answers and the Christian thing for Notre Dame to do would be to cooperate with any and all authorities to find the truth.  Can I get an amen?

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