Police fail to identify suspect in swimmer's rape case
ST. LOUIS (AP) Police said Wednesday they failed to identify a suspect and have closed their investigation of a former University of Missouri swimmer's claims she was raped by several football players, more than a year before her suicide drew sharp criticism about the university's handling of the matter.
Columbia, Missouri, investigators of Sasha Menu Courey's claims ''encountered several obstacles'' that included the lack of DNA and video evidence, uncooperative witnesses and the elusiveness of firsthand accounts of how or where the alleged sexual attack took place, police spokeswoman Bryana Maupin said.
Menu Courey, who grew up in Toronto, was 20 when she killed herself in June 2011 at a Boston psychiatric hospital after withdrawing midsemester from classes at Missouri. She had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder that her family said she grappled with before college but that went undiagnosed.
Before her death, she told health professionals bound by confidentiality that she had been sexually assaulted off-campus as a freshman at Missouri in February 2010 by as many as three football players.
The matter was not investigated by the university at the time, and no one was arrested or disciplined.
The Associated Press normally doesn't name alleged victims of sexual assault, but Menu Courey's parents have publicly discussed the case at length, as has the university.
A law firm's outside review ordered by the university into the allegations last year faulted the university's response to the late athlete's claims, concluding the school fell short of federal standards for the reporting and investigation of sexual assault on campus.
The report determined that the school's Title IX coordinator and Columbia police in November 2012 should have been alerted to Menu Courey's claims after a public records request by her parents produced documents alluding to the possible attack.
ESPN's ''Outside the Lines'' in January of last year raised numerous questions about the university's response to Menu Courey's death. The school initially said it didn't act sooner under the 40-year-old Title IX law or more recent U.S. Department of Education instructions because neither Menu Courey nor her parents sought a police investigation and didn't respond to a later request for information.
The Education Department in 2011 had warned schools of their legal responsibilities, including the need for immediate investigations that don't rely on criminal cases to move forward.
The university system's president, Tim Wolfe, and the Columbia campus' chancellor, Bowen Loftin, said in a joint statement Wednesday that their sympathies go out to Menu Courey's family, friends and teammates.
''Though we cannot bring Sasha back, we can make the University of Missouri a safer and stronger place in her name,'' the administrators' statement said.
Wolfe last year issued an executive order requiring all university employees other than those legally bound by confidentiality to report such claims to the university's Title IX coordinator.
Although Maupin, the police spokeswoman, said investigators still would welcome information about Menu Courey's case, the late swimmer's father said the failure to resolve his daughter's case was ''disappointing.''
''We believe there are people out there that know something, but nobody has come out and said anything,'' Mike Menu told The Associated Press from his Toronto home. ''But we're still hoping someone will hear something about this, come out and want to make this right, not only for Sasha but for others in similar situations.''