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USU Police chief makes controversial comments on sexual assault, LDS women in newly obtained recording

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Posted at 9:58 PM, Dec 14, 2021

LOGAN, Utah — In a meeting with Utah State University football players this fall, USU Police Chief Earl Morris told them to make sure that if they have sex, that it's consensual — especially if it's with a Latter-day Saint woman.

According to a report by The Salt Lake Tribune, Morris warned the team that LDS women will often tell their bishop that sex was nonconsensual because it’s “easier.” They might be “feeling regret,” he continued, for having sex before marriage, which goes against the faith’s teachings of abstinence, so they’ll say it was assault.

The campus police chief then told the players that no matter what prompts it, if they’re accused of assault, his officers are forced to investigate. And, he added, “the cards are stacked against you from the moment that happens.”

His comments were captured on an audio recording recently obtained by the Tribune and later confirmed by FOX 13 News.

This recording was referenced in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by USU student Kaytriauna Flint, who alleges in court papers that the university continues to protect its football players and deliberately brush aside women when they report they were sexually assaulted by a member of the team, which she said happened to her in 2019.

The university issued a statement in response to the Tribune's report, saying in part:

“We do not have access to the recordings and do not know the entirety of the discussion during which the statements were made. That said, it is important to USU that our messaging and trainings reflect the university’s efforts to prevent sexual misconduct, reduce barriers to reporting, and respond to it appropriately when it occurs. The transcribed statements, as presented by the Tribune, are not consistent with the university’s trainings on this matter."

Read the full story on the chief's comments and the lawsuit at sltrib.com.

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If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673 or the online chat hotline at rainn.org/resources.