Who was the alleged perpetrator in the Lizzy Seeberg incident involving a Notre Dame football player?
Anyone who covers Notre Dame football has known the answer to this question since it happened in the fall of 2010. This was a poorly kept secret. And it wasn’t just a secret within media close to the program, anyone who cared to Google the name Prince Shembo would eventually stumble across the rumors that he was indeed the player who supposedly committed the sexual crime against Lizzy Seeberg, right before she committed suicide. Notre Dame police didn’t interview Shembo until 15 days after Seeberg’s death.
Of course, legally, no one in media could publish his name- until now.
Prince Shembo said at the NFL Scouting Combine today that he has nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of. And obviously the local authorities felt the same way since he has never been charged with a crime. Shembo addressed these allegations publicly for the first time as potential NFL teams interviewed him at the combine.
We can’t speculate on the innocence or guilt of Prince Shembo, but we can talk about the bigger picture: the gag order that Brian Kelly’s program put on Shembo for all this time. Even in a case that was literally life and death, ND kept Shembo from talking and ND police dragged their feet in investigating the alleged crime.
You’ll remember that Lizzy Seeberg was the former St. Mary’s student who killed herself ten days after she claimed she was sexually assaulted in her dorm room by a ND football player. Seeberg also claimed that she received a threatening text messages on behalf of the Fighting Irish football program from one of Shembo’s friends. No charges were ever filed because Lizzy Seeberg is obviously not here to tell her side of the story.
Prince Shembo couldn’t tell his side of the story because Brian Kelly forbade him.
From Blue and Gold Illustrated, part of 24/7 Sports, partnered with CBS Sports.com
“Yes, I wanted to talk about it, but they had to keep everything confidential,” said Shembo, who added that he did not lobby Kelly for the opportunity to speak about it. “Now that I’m out [of the university], I can talk about it.
Shembo acknowledged Saturday that the unknown player in question was him.
“I just tell [NFL team executives] the truth, I have nothing to hide,” said Shembo, who estimated that 26 teams have interviewed him. “No one’s heard from me one time. Do you go off of one person’s story?
“I’m still here, so I know I didn’t do anything. I tell them exactly what happened.”
“I’m innocent,” Shembo said. “I didn’t do anything. I’m, pretty much, I’m the one who ended it and pretty much told the girl that we should stop, that we shouldn’t be doing this and that’s what happened. So, I don’t know.”
Somehow the rumor mill turned this story involving rape, but that was never the case. Lizzy Seeberg’s complaint involved an inappropriate touching of her breast classified as sexual battery.
Keeping everything under wraps worked at Notre Dame, or more appropriately, at the college level where coaches and administrators are ruling Czars and players have very little rights compared to them. So Shembo had to keep quiet about this investigation, otherwise it would hurt his eligibility. Now that he’s going pro, he’s free to speak and to try and clear his name. Twenty-six NFL teams have interviewed Shembo and all of them have asked about Lizzy Seeberg. At the professional level, they’re making such a big financial investment in a prospect that they have to do their due diligence.
Notre Dame has never discussed the Seeberg case publicly or how it handled her complaint. Multiple media outlets reached out to Notre Dame for comment, but ND did not respond to any of their requests.
from the Chris Hine in the Chicago Tribune:
The Tribune reported in November 2010 that campus authorities did not initially tell county police about Seeberg’s report of a sexual attack, nor did campus police refer the case to the county’s special victims unit, which was established to handle sex offenses, according to county officials. Notre Dame police didn’t contact Shembo until five days after she died, according to the Seeberg family.
At the time, the Tribune did not name Shembo because he had not been charged with a crime and his identity was never revealed publicly until he spoke out Saturday.
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar, he’s also a frequent analyst on news talk radio; with regular segments on ESPN,NBC, CBS and Fox. A former NBC Chicago and Washington Times writer, he’s also been featured on the History Channel. President Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Powered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks