BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU Associate Athletic Director Sharon Lewis will file a Title IX retaliation and corruption lawsuit against the university’s board of supervisors, former head football coach Les Miles and others in the wake of multiple recent sexual assault scandals at LSU.
Lewis’ attorney, Tammye Brown, alleges that the university leadership, the athletic department and their law firm Taylor Porter “entered into a conspiracy to hide Les Miles’ sexual harassment investigation from federal officials and the public and to retaliate against Ms. Lewis.”
“Over the last eight years, Ms. Lewis has stood up to protect LSU female student workers and as a result has suffered unimaginable retaliation sanctioned by the LSU Board of Supervisors,” Brown said.
In an interview with USA Today, Lewis said that problems with Miles came shortly after he arrived at the school in Jan. 2005. Lewis alleges that Miles made complaints about overweight and Black women on the recruiting team and discouraged hiring Black women and prioritized lighter-skinned Black women.
Lewis also said Miles categorized female recruiting staff as “AM girls” and “PM girls” - saying that “AM girls should be relegated to office work and the “PM girls” should be out for people to look at.
Lewis said her complaints to administrators largely were returned with requests that she did what Miles wanted or find another job.
Lewis was in charge of coordinating travel, lodging, meals and meetings for recruits and their families. She also managed a group of student workers who helped with recruiting events.
“The Husch Blackwell Report documented how LSU orchestrated a retaliation against Ms. Lewis, including the mental breakdown and ongoing mental trauma she suffered as a result,” her attorneys wrote. “Once LSU could not hush Ms. Lewis, they laid the groundwork for perpetual retaliation and hostility to rend her embarrassed, isolated and invisible.”
Bridgett Brown, another attorney on Lewis’ legal team, described the Husch Blackwell report as “just the tip of the iceberg of Ms. Lewis’ nearly decade-long-suffering for doing her job to protect the girls of LSU.”
"We know there are others out there," Brown said during a press conference Wednesday morning. "And just like we're going to fight for Sharon Lewis, we're going to fight for others too. Because fighting for Sharon Lewis is fighting for other women."
Brown added that the team intends to prove that LSU acted “more like a crime syndicate than a flagship university of our state when it intentionally set out to destroy the professional career of one of the most successful Black women in NCAA sports.”
The attorneys say additional lawsuits will be filed in the East Baton Rouge Parish State Court and with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission next week.