Senator Bill Cassidy: Responsibility for LSU sex assault scandal lies at top with Alexander
U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said former LSU President King Alexander and football Coach Les Miles are paying an appropriate price for their role in LSU's escalating sexual harassment and assault scandal, though their firings are coming long after both are gone for the school.
"I think the responsibility needs to rise to the top not settle to the bottom," said Cassidy, R-La., during a conference call with reporters. "If both were at the university now we could fire them both."
Alexander is out as Oregon State's president Tuesday after pressure mounted during the past week to fire him because of LSU's mishandling of sexual harassment, assault and rape complaints under his watch.
Kansas fired Miles as its football coach earlier this month after a report that he inappropriately contacted female students while at LSU even after being warned not to do so.
"What you really want is for the primary penalty to be upon those who are most responsible," he said. "Arguably the president of the university is the person who is most responsible.
"Clearly there have already been consequences for the people in the ultimate decision-making roles. They're no longer at LSU, but they still have borne those consequences."
So far nobody involved in the scandal who still works at LSU has been fired.
Verge Ausberry and Miriam Segar, longtime and high-ranking athletic department administrators with extensive, documented histories of skirting the school’s sexual misconduct policies by keeping allegations against athletes in house, were placed on unpaid suspension.
Both will be back at their jobs in April.
Cassidy wouldn't say whether Ausberry, Segar or anyone else involved in the scandal who still works at LSU should be fired.
Cassidy said he's more hesitant to see those "lowest in the command chain take a fall for the people who are the highest."
"I think we should wait and see what LSU finally does," he said. "But LSU should do its best to root out any culture that tolerates sexual harassment."
Alexander was president of LSU from 2013 to 2019 during a time when the school systemically mishandled reports of sexual misconduct by students and by head football coach Les Miles, according to a report by law firm Husch Blackwell that was publicly released this month by LSU.
USA Today's Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Natalie Pate contributed to this report.
Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana. Follow him on Twitter @GregHilburn1.