Saturday, May 10, 2014

Falcons Looking Past Shembo's Past For Draft...? (UPDATED: Dimitroff Comfortable With It)

For the 139th overall pick in the 2014 draft, the Atlanta Falcons selected Prince Shembo from Notre Dame...

If the name strikes a chord, it comes from here...

Shembo acknowledged for the first time, back at the Scouting Combine in February, that he was at the heart of allegations made Lizzy Seeberg- a Saint Mary’s College student who committed suicide back in 2010 (pictured right, thanks WLS-TV).

Shembo also said at the combine that the university did not want him to speak on the issue. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, of course, denied this to the Chicago Tribune before spring practice started:

“We made a decision based upon the information we had. We felt it was in Prince’s best interest that this was not a matter that needed to be discuss. But that was certainly something he could have decided to discuss.

“We didn’t threaten him with he couldn’t play or we were going to put him on the bench or we were going to throw him out of school. It was still his decision.”

Sure, okay...

Shannon Ryan and Chris Hine's piece from practice says that Shembo maintained his innocence.

The Tribune reported in December 2010 (Stacy St. Clair and Todd Lighty's piece is here) that the family felt "betrayed" by the university lack of action over their daughter's complaint of a sexual attack.

On August 31, 2010, Seeberg was in Shembo's room alone and started to feel uncomfortable after friends of both Seeberg and Shembo left the room.

From St. Clair and Lighty:

Seeberg then described how she cried and her body froze as the alleged attack ensued. Her allegations did not describe penetration; the campus police log listed the complaint as an alleged sexual battery. Under Indiana law, a sexual battery is the unwanted touching of another person to satisfy one's own sexual desires.

The incident ended when the player's cell phone distracted him, Seeberg wrote.

Shortly afterward, the other couple returned.

Upon returning to her campus, Seeberg wrote a hand-written statement, documents show. She sought assistance the next morning from Belles Against Violence, a St. Mary's program that helps victims of sex crimes and whose name pays tribute to the nickname for the all-female student population. She also went to a hospital, where she reported the alleged attack to authorities and consented to a DNA evidence kit.

Through texting, Shembo's friend asked about the night before and the exchange included:

"Don't do anything you would regret," the text said. "Messing with notre dame football is a bad idea."

Seeberg forwarded the message to a campus detective within ten minutes. That same night, she sent a link of Shembo's player bio to university police with the header- "assault suspect"

Seeberg started suffering panic attacks and died September 10, 2010 from an overdose of prescription medication.
The question was even addressed by Chris Matthews

The university seemed not to move swiftly in their investigation of the assault. And all the Seebergs were looking for were answers in a timely fashion- they still aren't seeming to get them even to this day...

Tom Seeberg, Lizzy's father, was interviewed Combine Week by The Game Radio in Chicago after Shembo's comments were made public. He said in part:

"I think the context of revealing his name maybe adds to maybe why we certainly accused Notre Dame of conducting a superficial investigation," Seeberg said. "But maybe it adds context to why they might conduct a superficial investigation. In a he-said-she-said matter, you can quickly gather forensic evidence to try to determine what happened there, or you can let it linger like they did. Let evidence spoil."

Todd Lighty and Rich Campbell's piece from the Tribune during Combine Week is here

Seeberg has maintained that the university pursued the Manti Te'o situation with more zeal and purpose than their daughter's case.

Which brings us back to the Atlanta Falcons...

All the front office really needs to say is that since Shembo was never charged- that's good enough for them...
But, what will their answer be...? Something more in-depth...?

The HQ doubts it... and for a franchise that prides itself in being a community-driven and respectful outfit, it's an odd selection- not because of need, but because of character...

SUNDAY UPDATE: Props to Vaughn McClure over at the four-letter for catching up with Thomas Dimitroff and asking:

The response still doesn't wash with the HQ...

"We're very, very aware of the seriousness of the incident," Dimitroff said. "Obviously, it's a sad situation for the young lady involved. We've done a lot of research at many levels from our security standpoint, from all the research that we did at Notre Dame. And he was never charged, never suspended from the team or the school.

"We've done our due diligence as far as making sure that we felt very comfortable with making that decision. Only glowing endorsements from the university. And again, pleased to have him a part of this organization going forward."

Of course, Shembo is getting glowing endorsements from the university that did virtually nothing to investigate...

Of course he is...

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