Notre Dame Won’t Prosecute Sexual Battery Case Against Football Player

Less than a month ago, I wrote a piece about the tragic suicide of Lizzy Seeberg, a freshman at St. Mary’s College in Indiana who killed herself early in the school year, nine days after reporting sexual battery by a Notre Dame football player.  When I wrote the initial post, the player was still on the field, and Notre Dame was refusing to publicly acknowledge the case.  Now it’s unlikely that officials will prosecute the case at all.

Seeburg’s parents say they feel betrayed by a school they loved.  Thirteen members of their family, including their daughter, have attended either St. Mary’s College or Notre Dame, and they say that although they have no wish to attack such a beloved institution, they are also deeply disappointed by its failure to act on behalf of its female students. 

“We are parents fighting for our daughter. We’re fighting for our sisters, our nieces and our granddaughters,” Tom Seeberg, Lizzy Seeburg’s father, said. “If not at Our Lady’s university, then where? Where in the world would you fight for women? Where in the world would you fight for a cause like this?”

Their anger increased when the school indicated that it would not give them documents related to their daughter’s accusations.  Notre Dame has also refused to publicly discuss any of the sexual assault allegations and how they handled Lizzy Seeberg’s complaint.

The parents’ lawyer, in a letter to the university in early November, requested three things: “A full and vigorous investigation surrounding the allegations; transparency of the investigative process; and an aappropriate disciplinary response’ from the university.” 

None of this has happened and more disturbing information keeps coming out, including a text message from a friend of the perpetrator, which read,  “Don’t do anything you would regret,” the text said. “Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea.”  This was after Seeberg had reported the attack to officials and consented to a rape kit.

According to the Notre Dame/St. Mary’s Observer, the school has decided not to prosecute the football player accused of battery “based on the evidence from the investigation and evidentiary rules involving hearsay, which make it unlikely that Seeberg’s statements would be admissible in court because of her death.”  They also say that the text message did not constitute harassment.

Clearly, Seeberg’s parents have every right to feel angry and betrayed.  The school is more interested in protecting its image than its students, and the fact that Seeberg is tragically deceased makes it easier for them to claim that it’s simply not possible to move ahead.  It would be one thing if, after a transparent investigation, they concluded that there was not enough evidence.  But the way the university has behaved is inexcusable, and demonstrates a clear disregard for its students’ health and safety.

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.


William C
William C3 months ago

Thanks for caring.

W. C
W. C3 months ago

Not surprising, thank you for the article.

Tom Sullivan
Tom C Sullivan7 years ago

don;t give up fight them all the way

John T.
John T7 years ago

Gina H. says: "It doesn't take just the penis make a physical assault or rape."

Gina, before ranting try reading. Especially the applicable Indiana Statutes. For Rape, it DOES take a penis AND Penetration.

Emotion is a fine thing Gina, but not in the preparation of charges for a trial.
You wanna charge the guy with Rape, you better be able to PROVE Rape otherwise he WALKS!

No where in any of my postings did I defend the athlete. I DID, repeatedly, ask posters to stay ON TOPIC which concerned a Sexual Assault, not a rape. Lizzy's own interview removed Rape as a charge.
No where did I defend Notre Dame. I DID highlight the FACT that they are prevented by Federal Law from releasing any information to the public regarding an investigation AND that they did turn over the product of their investigation to the South Bend PD which was the appropriate thing to do.

IF you have a personal beef with Catholics, or Notre Dame in particular, that's your problem. I haven't seen or heard one identified Catholic on these boards calling for anything but a full investigation.

The truly sad part of this whole situation is the needless death of a young woman.

Irene L.
Irene L.7 years ago

get a lawyer and demand they open the books to investigate

Stacy E.
Stacy E.7 years ago

I don't entirely understand why the university has any say whatsoever as to whether the oung man is prosecuted or not. That would be up to the police department, yes? I do think that the school should investigate the charges, but I also think they have a duty to be honest about the investigation. If the young man is accused of sexual assault he should - as other schools have done - been suspended pending the legal investigation.

Gina H.
Gina H7 years ago

You're right John T., no where in the ABC article does it say the word rape. But then they've got a precious jock to protect on the team so I guess leaving such a strong word out of the article along with further details further protects him. But if you go to the Huffington Post, his actions are described as a "sexual assault". "...the player allegedly sexually assaulted Seeberg as she froze, weeping, according to a statement found on her computer after her death". Source:

Just a matter of what words are used & what news report you read eh John? It doesn't take just the penis make a physical assault or rape. Ever been groped & overpowered by a guy that you weren't interested in, John? Probably not.

Typical "jock behavior" that sports continues to support. Can't be a real man on the team if you haven't performed your weekly rape. Not surprised that a Catholic entity won't push to have it pursued either since they still support that woman is the root of all evil. Maybe some day the male population will finally evolve beyond cave man behavior and treat women with some iota of respect. I don't expect to see it in my life time.

Petra Luna
Petra Luna7 years ago

In a realm where sports is everything, a woman means nothing, even if it's her life, because ONE athlete bringing in a win is more important than crime or the lives of other people. Notre Dame should be more like the Green Bay Packers, where if they even have the accusation, they are kicked off the team. Maybe then these aspiring athletes would conduct themselves in a more sophisticated manner, since even the accusation would cost them their spot on the team, maybe even their scholarships and their attendance at the coveted university. When you aspire to be something that great, I expect that they conduct themselves in the appropriate manner. If they can't, because "boys will be boys", then go to a boy level college like your local booze club. You don't go to a prestigious place to act like a slob blob.

Jean S.
Jean Saja7 years ago


jane richmond
jane richmond7 years ago

Athletes walk.. guilty or not they need him to play.