Reports: Les Miles was investigated for sexual harassment at LSU

Les Miles was investigated for sexual harassment during his time as LSU’s head coach, according to multiple reports.

As USA Today has been investigating the way LSU and its athletic department handled accusations of sexual misconduct and domestic abuse complaints, a 2013 investigation into Miles surfaced. Miles was accused of sexually harassing “student workers” and making “sexist comments about others,” per USA Today.

Miles was the head coach at LSU from 2005 to 2016 and led the program to a national championship in 2007. He was fired during the 2016 season and is currently the head coach at the University of Kansas.

The Baton Rouge Advocate reported Wednesday that Miles “reached a settlement” with one former LSU student. The student, an intern, accused Miles of “hitting on her” and took place “about a decade” ago, the report says. Miles told The Advocate that the accusations are “not true.”

LSU “has refused to release” the investigative report into Miles’ alleged actions, prompting USA Today to sue the university for a copy. The “bulk of” the document could be made public, but a Baton Rouge judge said Tuesday it will remain sealed “until a March 30 trial to hear Miles and LSU’s objections to the release,” USA Today wrote Wednesday.

From USA Today:

In court documents, Miles’ attorneys claimed that the records should remain completely private because the allegations “were found to be without corroborative evidence.” The investigation, they said, “did not result in any discipline or finding of wrongdoing” and that it “exonerated” Miles.

At the same time, his attorneys said the records contain information of “a highly personal nature,” the disclosure of which would cause Miles to “immediately suffer serious injury to his reputation and personal life” and “irreparable loss.”

The investigation did not, in fact, absolve Miles of wrongdoing, USA TODAY has learned from independent sources. Nor did it conclude that the allegations were baseless. Rather, investigators determined that Miles’ conduct did not rise to the level of breaking the law.

According to The Advocate, Miles was also the “subject of another investigation by a Baton Rouge law firm” eight years ago. At the time of the investigation and the aforementioned settlement, LSU was in the process of negotiating a long term contract with Miles, whose teams won at least 10 games in seven of his first nine seasons with the program.

Kansas head coach Les Miles watches warm ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)
Kansas head coach Les Miles watches warm ups before an NCAA college football game against Iowa State, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Matthew Putney)

LSU hired law firm for internal investigation

USA Today’s reporting prompted LSU to hire an outside law firm, Husch Blackwell, to look into the school’s handling of sexual misconduct cases from 2016 to 2018. Several of the cases involved LSU football players, some of which happened during Miles’ tenure. Others allegedly took place after Ed Orgeron took over for Miles.

Per The Advocate, Husch Blackwell’s report is expected to be completed “late next week.” Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education has launched an investigation of its own.

Miles was fired four games into the 2016 season after a 2-2 start, opening the door for Orgeron to serve as interim coach. Orgeron was promoted to full-time head coach after the season and subsequently coached the Tigers to a national championship in 2019.

Miles, meanwhile, became the head coach at Kansas in November 2018. The Jayhawks went 3-9 in 2019 and 0-9 in 2020. Upon his hiring at Kansas, Miles agreed to a five-year, $13.8 million contract.

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