At the height of his fame as Louisiana State University’s head football coach, Les Miles was accused of texting female students, taking them to his condo alone, making them feel uncomfortable and, on at least one occasion, kissing a student and suggesting they go to a hotel after telling her he could help her career, according to an internal investigative report released by LSU on Thursday.
The investigation, done by law firm Taylor Porter on behalf of LSU in 2013, did not find that Miles had sexual relationships with any of the women. But it found his behavior inappropriate. Miles strongly denied kissing the girl, according to the report. He said that he did nothing wrong and was simply mentoring young women at the university.
Miles also was accused by athletic department staff of saying that the female student workers who helped the football team lure top recruits needed to be attractive, blonde and fit, according to the investigative report. Existing student employees who did not meet this criteria should be given fewer hours or terminated, the report details.
If Miles repeated his behavior, the school said in the letter, he would lose his job and violate his contract.
Read the full report: Les Miles allegations
The allegations against Miles – now head coach at the University of Kansas – were first made public after USA TODAY sued for the records in January. LSU initially refused to release the records and Miles intervened in USA TODAY’s lawsuit, asserting his reputation would be ruined if the report was made public. Miles dropped his bid to keep the records sealed, with his lawyer saying its release was necessary to defend himself against negative media attention.
In 2013, Miles and LSU took steps to ensure the records remained secret, according to a letter released with the investigative report. In it, attorneys for LSU tell Miles that should anyone request it, the school would fight the release in court.
The internal investigation into Miles is the latest discovery by USA TODAY, which has revealed widespread mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations by LSU’s athletic department and broader administration. USA TODAY’s reporting prompted LSU to hire outside law firm Husch Blackwell in November to audit its handling of dozens of sexual misconduct cases since 2016.
The Husch Blackwell report, which is slated to be released publicly on Friday, is expected to reveal even more about Miles’ conduct during his time at LSU, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the probe.
“We’re thrilled this important document has been released,” said Scott Sternberg, attorney for USA TODAY, referring to the 2013 report. “We think the judge’s redactions were judicious and appropriately reveal to the concerned public how LSU handled these allegations against Louisiana’s most famous name and highest-paid state employee.”
The student worker who told investigators that Miles had kissed her said Miles took interest in her career. He suggested that he could help her and asked her to put her number in his phone under an alias and said that he would do the same.
They texted each other and arranged for a time to meet again. At some point, the two met off campus and she got into his car and drove around. During the ride, the student told investigators, Miles suggested “that they go to a hotel together and mentioned his condo as another meeting place. He also complimented her on her appearance and said he was attracted to her.”
Investigators wrote they were not able to determine what happened between Miles and the student in the car. Miles denied kissing her. But even if they were to accept Miles’ version of events, investigators wrote, “it appears that he has shown poor judgment.”
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SOURCE: USA TODAY, by Kenny Jacoby, Nancy Armour and Jessica Luther