|Mother of alleged UI victim releases letter|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 24 July 2008 11:01|
In a copyright story, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported Thursday that the mother provided the newspaper with a copy of the letter dated May 16. It's the second letter written by the mother to the university and then sent to the newspaper.
The Iowa Board of Regents on Tuesday ordered that an investigation into the university's response to the alleged attack be reopened because regents didn't know of the letters.
Former Iowa football players Cedric Everson and Abe Satterfield have been charged in the Oct. 14, 2007, assault at a residence hall and will go on trial Nov. 3.
In the first letter, the mother accuses the university of mishandling its response to her daughter's allegations. She said officials encouraged her daughter, also an Iowa athlete, to pursue a resolution ``informally'' and within the athletic department.
The latest letter accuses officials of not helping her daughter in the face of harassment from teammates and football players.
``Shame on you for dropping this woman like a plague and turning your backs on her when she was determined to finish the race in spite of you,'' the mother wrote. ``Shame on you for not having enough spine or character to finish it with her.''
Neither the mother nor her daughter are named by the Press-Citizen because it's the newspaper's policy not to identify alleged victims of sexual assaults.
The letter singled out for criticism University of Iowa president Sally Mason and Phillip Jones, the vice president for student services.
The mother wrote that she spoke with Mason during Thanksgiving week, but the president told her she didn't deal with such issues.
When she spoke to Jones, the woman wrote that he assured her daughter that school officials would stand behind her. Instead, the mother wrote, his staff distanced themselves from her daughter, ``washing their hands of her as if she were a bad disease.''
For the rest of the school year, the mother wrote, her daughter endured harassment and taunts from members of the football team and her former teammates. The mother laid some of the blame for the treatment of her daughter on her daughter's coach.
The letter redacted the coach's name and didn't identify the sport.
``She fought this battle alone, finished her year alone and left alone,'' the letter stated. ``Her purpose and determination called her to stay and fight against the call to bail and call it a day. She stayed the course and finished when not one of you cared what became of her.''
University spokesman Steve Parrott said Mason and other university officials feel they have tried to ``do the right thing'' by the woman and her family, including making them aware of their options and supporting them in their choices.
``As much as we tried hard to be helpful, it's clear that they feel that we didn't do all that we could, and for that we are quite sorry and we still want them to know that they have our sympathy,'' he told The Associated Press by telephone on Thursday.
Parrott said the best way to resolve the situation at this point is to let the regents investigation move forward.
``We certainly have every expectation that our people have done the best they could under difficult circumstances to follow our policies and procedures,'' he said.
During the Big Ten Conference's media day in Chicago on Thursday, football coach Kirk Ferentz said he and athletic director Gary Barta were invited to meet with the family on Oct. 17. He said he was uncomfortable attending, but ``when I walked away, I thought it was a very positive meeting in a tough circumstances.''
He indefinitely suspended the players the day after that meeting.
``Basically my decisions were made in compliance of our student-athlete code-of-conduct and in compliance with the context of that meeting and the answers I was given,'' he said.