The Washington Post

Lizzy Seeberg and sexual assault at the University of Notre Dame

The hardest story I’ve ever written — everything I never wanted to know about sexual assault at my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame — is up online this morning, at the National Catholic Reporter.

The only thing left to say is thank you to NCR for once again giving new meaning to the old phrase “without fear or favor.”

NCR broke many of the original stories about clerical sexual abuse at a time when no one wanted to believe the extent of the problem.

If not for NCR, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the prolific pedophile who founded the Legion of Christ, would still be considered a saint.

And if not for NCR, 19-year-old Lizzy Seeberg, who committed suicide in the fall of 2010 after accusing a Notre Dame football player of sexual assault, would unfairly be written off as a troubled young woman who fabricated the story after being sexually rejected.

Seeberg, you see, told authorities the attack stopped when the player received a call on his cell phone, but phone records show he made a call rather than receiving one. By her account, she was crying hard and frozen with fear at the time.

That’s the sort of discrepancy sexual assault experts say is typical of the way the brain processes information in a traumatic situation. But school officials cite it as proof positive that she lied — about that, and everything else.

There’s so much more to her story, and I hope you’ll read it.

Melinda Henneberger is a Post political writer and anchors She the People. Follow her on Twitter at @MelindaDC.

Melinda Henneberger has been writing about politics and culture for the Washington Post since 2011.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.