In addition to the university, defendants include Miles, the LSU Board Of Supervisors, law firm Taylor Porter and other school officials.
“LSU leadership, its board of supervisors, the athletic committee for the board, along with Taylor Porter conspired and organized around working around Title IX and its compliance,” Tammye Brown, an attorney representing Lewis, said during a news conference on Wednesday. “They worked around the investigation requirements under Title IX and the requirements for protection of those who reported Title IX sexual harassment and sexual violence incidents. That effort was done to hide documents and information from the public eye, and from people like Sharon Lewis.”
Lewis’s attorneys said she was subjected to “ongoing and persistent humiliation” by Miles and LSU athletics department staff in retaliation for reporting his behaviors. Bridgett Brown, another attorney representing Lewis, described some of that retaliation, saying the treatment prompted Lewis to hide under her desk to avoid contact with Miles.
“Can you imagine what it’s like to go to work, and now your co-workers are turning their backs on you, not inviting you to meetings, treating you like you have some kind of disease,” Brown said. “It’ll give you a nervous breakdown, which is what she had.”
Lewis’s legal team claims that a 2013 memo by Taylor Porter documents a conspiracy by the school and law firm to cover up Title IX investigations and alleged sexual harassment by Miles that violate federal and civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act statutes. LSU commissioned Taylor Porter to investigate Miles for sexual harassment involving two female students; Brown said Lewis was unaware of that probe, which was not widely shared at LSU.
One student claimed to Taylor Porter that Miles had suggested they go to a hotel or his condo and that he had kissed her twice, an allegation he denied. Another student said she became “uncomfortable” when Miles, now 67, initially asked her to babysit his children and instead suggested they watch a movie together. He allegedly texted at least “one other former student employee on a personal phone that LSU had no knowledge of or way to monitor.”
Joe Alleva, LSU’s athletic director at the time, subsequently banned Miles from interpersonal contact or communications with female student employees. Last November, LSU brought in law firm Husch Blackwell to investigate how specific and general allegations of sexual misconduct elsewhere at the school were handled.
That report depicted LSU’s athletics department as a place where sexism, dismissiveness, and inadequacies in the Title IX process discouraged reporting of misconduct, and led some individuals to manage accounts of harassment and interpersonal violence directly rather than reporting them.
It indicated that Lewis was “the only person in the entire University who has ever been disciplined in any form for failing to make a report” under the Title IX guidelines. “This is ironic because Lewis has lodged several reports of sex harassment throughout her tenure,” the report read.
Lewis competed for LSU’s track and field team before graduating in 1991 and returning in 2002 to become the football program’s coordinator for recruiting. She oversees the team’s on-campus recruiting activities and recruiting staff, and is in charge of alumni relations for the athletic department.
Miles coached at LSU from 2005 until he was fired four games into the 2016 season. He led the Tigers to an overall record of 114-34 and a national championship in the 2007 season, plus another trip to the title game in the 2011 season.
Hired by Kansas in 2018, Miles and the university “mutually agreed to part ways” in early March.