Ferentz has "no idea" how the UI could have better treated sexual assault victim

Submitted by Ms. Wolverine on July 24th, 2008 at 1:41 PM

One of the "entries" today on ESPN's new Big Ten blog is a phone interview with Kirk Ferentz, in which he speaks about the University's handling of a sexual assault victim - if you haven't heard about this story by now, you haven't been paying attention.

Some key quotes from the interview:

Ferentz on how he feels about addressing the situation publicly: "I would hope people would realize there may two different sides to this last release, if you will. I don't have access to information, to every degree of the letter that came out. But certainly the part I have knowledge of, I'm very confident that the Regents will find that the steps taken by the members involved were first and foremost, of the best concern for the young woman and her family. Everything was followed very properly, procedurally."

What. I mean really, what? Procedure was followed to the letter, never mind the fact that the procedure was fucked up as all hell.

But maybe Ferentz will redeem himself when asked about how he would change those procedures?

Was there anything you would have done differently?

"Not to my knowledge. The bottom line is it certainly appears there was an incident. That will be decided in the proper place, which is not on our campus."

Except that it wasn't decided in the proper place, BECAUSE the people on your campus told the girl to keep it "in house." Gah.

"I'm totally confident that everything was done the way it was supposed to have been done. There's a strict protocol that has to be followed. It was followed, to my knowledge. It's sad that an alleged incident took place, but nobody can do anything about that at this point. What happened after, from my knowledge, everything was handled extremely well."

It's sad that the victim's trust was betrayed by the very people who are supposed to protect her. Man, it's so sad that the University basically engaged in a cover up operation for the benefit of two football players, trampling all over this girl's rights.

"From what I know, at least everyone on campus exhausted every possible option available to them and everything was handled very well. The Regents already came to that conclusion after an investigation, and I'm very confident they're going to come to the same conclusion down the road. The only other aspect of that, I would not be surprised if they readjust the procedure one more time. That may be a result of this investigation. But that's up to them. All the parties involved could do was follow the procedure that's been laid out.

What could that adjustment be?

KF: I have no idea what that might be."

Oh dear lord. All the University could do was follow a fucked up procedure like robots? He has no idea how this situation could be remedied in the future?


I was ready to give Ferentz the benefit of the doubt on this one. I was ready for him to come out and say "I'm not happy about what happened, and I hope it will be remedied in the future because this was WRONG." But no, instead we get repeated statements that the University did all that it could and that since the Regents approved the procedure before (importantly, BEFORE the victim's mother alerted them to the gross miscarriage of responsibility that happened here) then the procedure will obviously be found A-OK now.

Does this interview piss anyone else off, or just me? Full interview here.

EDIT: Apparently a second letter from the mother has been published here. This one's from May 16, 2008. I wonder how much worse this situation can get before it gets better. If it ever does.



chitownblue (not verified)

July 24th, 2008 at 1:46 PM ^

It's 100% bullshit, but it doesn't piss me off, really, because that's what I'd expect. These people are mutually covering each other's asses.


July 24th, 2008 at 1:50 PM ^

about the degree of guilt and all that, but if you look at who benefits and who loses here and why, it's hard not be angry. They are just insane if they are continuing to circle the wagons on this and using their institutional clout to brush this aside. I really don't think that can happen here though. Too much public scrutiny and potential indictments at this point.


July 24th, 2008 at 1:52 PM ^

Faced with such unsupportable comments, I'm left to assume Iowa expects a lawsuit and is circling the wagons to avoid further damage. It never looks good for the future defendents to have to act stupid but to them it's better than losing their court case before it begins.


July 24th, 2008 at 2:14 PM ^

Are we Duke lacrosse-ing this one? I know there were some articles about the victim's mother saying this and that but has everything she said been substantiated? I just can't imagine these UI biggies are being this blatantly stupid if what the victim's mother claimed happened is true. This kind of obvious cover-up is almost too dumb to be true. I know it's the "in" thing nowadays to shoot first and ask questions later what with the shrill bloggers and Nancy Grace breathlessly damning all the scum unfortunate enough to be suspected of anything. Or maybe I'm just being devil's advocate here. I'm sure I'll be corrected if I missed the mark. Be gentle.

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 2:29 PM ^

Whether or not the charges are true is irrelevant. The problem here is that the UI completely mishandled the accusation when it told the girl "Keep it in house, use our informal process, don't go to the police" and then failed to actually HAVE an informal investigation, while also failing to secure the room and physical evidence. What they should have done is help her take her accusation to the authorities, who would then look into the situation, gather evidence, take testimony, etc and find out what really happened. It's very hard for justice and investigation to be done, and her accusation proved either false OR true, when the whole thing is kept hush hush and away from the police. 

This is NOT a Duke situation. I wish it weren't true, but all signs point to "major fuckup" on multiple levels at this point.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 2:26 PM ^

Contextually speaking, however, do you want your football coach in charge of improving insitutional procedures to protect rape victims? I don't. I'm not going to cut Ferentz any slack on his role as it related to this issue, but his answers were so flighty that it would not be illogical to assume that he's being asked by his employers to refrain from speaking too much or too specifically.


July 24th, 2008 at 3:31 PM ^

on this topic.  Remember, the whole reason this is a shitstorm for Ferentz and Iowa officials is because they involved themselves in something they were not qualified for or capable of handling.  Yet here we have Captain Kirk...commenting on a situation that he's not really qualified to comment on.  Uh, yeah.

A simple "no comment on a pending investigation" would have sufficed.  Or, alternatively, a simple refusal to conduct the interview would have done the job as well.  But apparently, both in his actions and in his words, Ferentz has learned nothing from this episode.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 2:29 PM ^

And carl has a good point, there is little, if any supporting evidence for either party's claim. I'm not absolving the University/Ferentz nor am I questioning the truthfullness of the claims made by the victim's mother, but there all situations possess an objective truth and none of us have the information to accurately assess the dialouge of either the alleged victim or the university and it's associates.

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 2:36 PM ^

Here's the problem: the biggest reason we have so little information? The UI kept it "in house."

I'm not passing judgment on whether or not a sexual assault occurred, because that's entirely beside the point. I AM passing judgment on how the UI handled the accusation (and how Ferentz has commented on the situation). I think we have plenty of information at this point to make that judgment call.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 2:54 PM ^

I suppose my point is that I don't have the information to clearly differentiate the idea of how the claims were handled unless I first have some information relating to what actually occurred.

I mean, I look at it this way; If my daughter has been sexually assualted, I'm not ok with people telling me it will be handled internally. I'm going straight to the police. After all, this is their responsibility to investigate the matter and make their own adjectival determinations. To me, quotes made by the mother would indicate she was initially satisfied with some sort of "internal" investigation and promises of equity. And, only after it became apparent that those promises were not going to be honored, only then did she get upset. I'm not sure what to think about that. 

You want to talk about procedural mechanisms, but these Universities aren't stupid. They've seen the news and they knwo the dangers of both under-reacting and over reacting. If, indeed, a rape occurred and it was smothered by UI officals, hell needs to be paid. But the information we are operating off of is largely coming from non-super serious blogs like BHGP and Dead Spin and historically inept MSM sources like the WWL. I mean,no offense to anyone, but BHGP has a hard enough time conjuring decent commentary on college football so I find it hard to believe that they've somehow got these finely honed alebeit latent investigative journalism skills. 

My inclination is to let this play out and to let factual information, you know, actually emerge. And the Ferentz comments seem to be made from a comprimised position; that is, these aren't candid answers, they're evasive answers. Ferentz obviously realizes his job is on the line and I find it hard to believe he has been lectured on acceptable commentary Re: the issue.

 Essentially, I agree with you.  But in making any determination of factuality, I believe that we first need to acquire facts. Little I've seen or read qualifies as such. 

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 3:21 PM ^

If you're going to claim that this is being reported by "not serious websites" I'll go ahead and point you to the place the story broke, namely the Iowa Press-Citizen, which is a "real paper." http://www.press-citizen.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage

I guess you can keep covering your eyes with your hands and calling those reporting this story inept, but you'll have to face the facts here soon enough.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 3:32 PM ^

Look, I'm not vindicating anyone in this. Maybe I don't wear my righteous indignation on my shoulder like you. I'm not disputing the incident occurred. But that can't be the whole story, and certainly not so as it relates to the University's role preserving evidence. That's the issue you are most pissed off about but its also the issue most fleetingly reported on by your so-called "real newspaper."

I don't pretend to have rape investigation skills. I don't pretend to have evidence tampering investigation skills. I don't have any inside information. Let the people who are trained to investigate actually investigate before second-guessing. That is all. 

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 3:52 PM ^

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the linked article has this and only this to say about the alleged evidence tampering:

"UI police later said preserving the evidence in the room was an issue in the investigation." 

And the other sources which are reporting on the evidence tampering are, like, DS and BHGP.

Taking my argument out of context doesn't make you right. It makes you a person who takes other person's arguments out of context.  


July 24th, 2008 at 4:00 PM ^

BHGP went out of their way to say they didn't think KF ordered a "Code Red" or any sort of evidence tampering, and even came here to have Brian clarify that in his entry. They have maintained since they started writing about this that KF probably fucked up sending the kids back to the room, but that it was a fuck up, not an attempt to destroy evidence or anything of that kind of sinister nature.

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 4:02 PM ^

In the very post you accuse me of taking you out of context, you take a quote from the article while completely ignoring the statement right above it? Priceless.

"The warrant documents state after Johnson-Koulianos moved into N207, he threw out a new condom and a used condom found behind a bed and a mattress cover with an "orangish-reddish color" substance on it."

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 4:10 PM ^

Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but Johnson-Koulianos is a WR on the football team. If you're claiming insitutional evidence tampering, that can't include a kid on the football team unless he was directed physically alter the crime scene.

So, yeah.  

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 4:18 PM ^

I've comented elsewhere here that I don't believe the UI officials or Ferentz ordered a direct evidentiary tampering. However they did nothing to prevent it, and allowed (or even ordered according to some of the info) a player to move into the room (and necessarily clean it up/move stuff around) when they knew it was a crime scene crucial to the investigation of this girl's accusation.

To me, that's just as bad.

Blue Durham

July 24th, 2008 at 2:50 PM ^

I am somewhat familiar with the Duke LaX case, and this is a little different.  First, the Iowa woman, I believe, did go to the hospital the morning the regained conciousness.  I do not know if it has been reported whether a rape kit was used or not.  Second, by not having the proper authorities (police) conduct an investigation, rather the University of Iowa, practically ensured that no evidence, one way or the other, was gathered.  This not only did a disservice in not establishing the guiltly party; but if the players were actually innocent of any crime, not having a proper investigation conducted actually hurt them.

In the Duke case, the university, faculty and much of the town immediately came out against the players, before the POLICE investigation was a week old.   It was this investigation (despite the efforts of DA Mike Nifong) and the gathering of evidence that got to the truth of the matter.  There was no such police investigation in the Iowa case; the woman was pursuaded to go the "informal" route. 

FYI, the two 911 calls made by the "second stripper," recorded after the party and the alleged rape, never could be reconciled with a rape taken place only 30 minutes prior.  These two call were broadcast within a couple of days of the incedent, but were quickly forgotten.   


July 24th, 2008 at 3:00 PM ^

The guilt or innocence of Everson/Satterfield is sooooooo not the point here.  The point is that if an accusation of sexual assault flies around between athletes at a university, the administration officials needed to behave in a much more professional and competent manner.

Suppose it is like Duke lacrosse, and Everson/Satterfield are actually innocent- did UI officials behave in a professional and competent manner that protected their rights?  Answer:  NO.  By not letting the legal authorities gather timely (and if they were innocent, exculpatory) evidence, then those two young men were denied their chance to clear their names.  Have we forgotten that Duke University officials stayed out of the way, enabling those boys to "have their day in court"?  Everson/Satterfield will never have that chance, thanks to Barta, Mason, Ferentz, et al.

And, in the case that Everson/Satterfield are actually guilty, we don't really need to go over why this young woman's rights were not protected by UI admin officials, do we?

So, no matter the guilt or innocence of Everson/Satterfield, the UI admin officials behaved in such an egregiously corrupt/incompetent manner as to make them wholly unfit to serve at UI anymore.  THAT is the point.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 3:08 PM ^

You're missing the point, CFaller.

The point is that this should have never been handled by the University. It's a police matter, it should have been handled by the police. Fuck professionalism, that's got nothing to do with any of this. Professionalism is for business meeting s and settling intra-office disputes over cleaning the break room refrigerator. These people were/are woefully unqualified to deal with this incident.

This may sound harsh, but how the fuck does your daughter come to you, claiming she's been raped, and you don't call the police? What would lend you to believe, even just for a second, that an AD has rape investigation skills? 

The vulnerable need to be looked after. But, fuck. At some point, don't people come proactively involved in ensuring their own safety and/or ensuring equity?  


July 24th, 2008 at 3:24 PM ^

To clarify, I'm saying in this situation:

Professionalism & Competence = Calling the Police, NOT tampering with a potential crime scene, not withholding pertinent information from the Regents, etc.

And because UI officials lacked the basic skillset (or perhaps, the incentive) to do these things, then their incompetent and unprofessional behavior here represents a firing offense.

The University should have never been involved in this.  Correct.  We agree.  But we seem to disagree on who's responsible for having the University involved in the first place.  Personally, I think the University officials who suggested that they be involved are more to blame.

You seem to imply that it's the parents' responsibility to make sure the police are involved.  Well, fine, we agree again (to a certain extent), but that doesn't let UI officials off the hook, not by any stretch of the imagination.  UI officials have NO BUSINESS WHATSOEVER even suggesting some alternative process to deal with this alleged sexual assault.  Fault the parents for going along with it initially if you want, but that does nothing to dissuade me from thinking that these UI officials need to be moved far, far away from college students.  They're clearly not capable of being the least bit trustworthy, and the damage done by such conflicted idiocy is too great to risk on any other child.

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 3:27 PM ^

Again: the fact that this could have been prevented by the mom or victim "getting proactive" in the face of coaches and administrators they trusted urging a different course of action is IRRELEVANT. The POINT is that what DID happen was egregiously wrong on many levels. The people that handled this situation were the ones in the position of power, and they abused it. If you want to talk about whether or not the procedures were appropriate, THAT's relevant. Saying "oh ho ho shoulda called the police right away" is a bullshit copout that avoids the real subject of discussion here.

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 3:45 PM ^

Way to distort your argument so many times that you've successfully managed to muddy the issue beyond repair.

I agree, rape is a horrible thing that needs to be dealt with in a way seperate from other crimes. It's a physical and pyschological attack that profoundly alters an individuals life.

But you've repeatedly stated that the big issue here is the procedural mechanism in place/not in place to ensure justice for those involved. In the continuum of cause and effect, any sane person recognizes that rape, as a major felony, needs to be handled by those judicial elements established to protect us, as citizens. I agree, the University should have immediately involved the police. But, the police weren't involved. At some point, isn't it the parent's responsibility to demand that they are? 

Please don't construe the above as a defense for hiding information. It's not. I'm merely pointing out that the private citizen - in this case, the affected party - has the power to involve the proper authorities.  After all, the family has the biggest stake in all of this, not KF, the AD, UI Administration, or the alleged rapists. It has been pointed out that the young woman went to hospital the next morning where she surely recieved counseling on her rights and her choices. 

I think the next, most important step is to determine why the police weren't called. If the University insisted that they shouldn't be, then I think the ramifications of this event are fundamentally expanded. If they weren't as a result of simple incompetence, then I think it's a different ballgame. 

Which leads us back to KF's comments. If he is being candid, maybe he really doesn't know how it could have been handled better. Seems stupid, but lots and lots of people are, well, stupid.  


July 24th, 2008 at 3:52 PM ^

relevant.  Once the administration is made aware of the situation, the only criminally negligent matters here are the actions of the administration.  The good faith acts made by those mentally malformed by rape shouldn't matter, since they aren't legally culpable.  Perhaps she might have made a better choice in a better state of mind, but let's remember why she's in that state to begin with, right?

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 4:01 PM ^

To me, its important only in the sense that the mother is criticizing the way the case was handeled when she had all the power to ensure it was handled properly. I guess, somehow, I see it harder to critcize the University for making poor decisions if you don't also make note of the fact that affected party didn't push for the correct decisions to be made. We're obviously dealing with mass incompetence. And, perhaps, malformed intentions. But how do you determine those intentions as such? I'm not sure, or, at least as not as sure as some of you are. I see a crucial difference in sheer incompetence and an attempt to cover things up and I don't think the evidence on hand - YET - proves a concerted attempt to cover things up. 


What motive does the AD have to cover this up? Seems like they have a lot more to lose than to gain.  



July 24th, 2008 at 4:28 PM ^

because the crux of the issue we're dealing with here is whether Iowa officials (Ferentz included) need to be sent packing.  With regard to how better to handle a sexual assault case in the future, I'm sure plenty of parents can see fault in what the mother and father and even the girl did.  But when it comes to answering the question, "what can we do to ensure this doesn't happen again?", I think Step 1 is to make sure these Iowa officials are not Iowa officials in the future.

Another person's fuckup does not excuse the behavior of Iowa officials here, and I think you agree with that, BGH.  But, oddly, while you don't want to excuse Iowa officials here, you somehow want to consider the actions of non-Iowa officials to be relevant to the discussion of what to do with these Iowa officials.

That makes no sense.  If the actions of the parents don't in any way excuse what the Iowa officials did, then logically the actions of the parents aren't relevant to discussing what the officials did.  Period.

They fucked up, the parents' debatable fuckup does nothing to mitigate that fuckup, and the fuckup is of such a serious nature as to call into question the judgment and competency of ALL of the Iowa officials involved.  They should all be gone, one way or another.


July 25th, 2008 at 12:45 PM ^

The AD hoped he could cover it up and then it 'never happened.' This is hardly the first time someone has taken a huge risk to avoid a lesser consequence.

I’m loathe to get re-involved in this absurd discussion but if I may offer you a suggestion bgh. Rape is not a normal crime that you just call the cops, finger a perp, and anonymously go home. As I’m sure you know, many societies (and certainly the US) attach great stigma to sex and rape. Involving the police would probably turn her into ‘that girl who was raped’ and it’s not hard to envision having to leave school. The trial…  Jebus, guys like BlueSeoul pouring over your sex life, reviewing your outfits, passing judgement on your actions. Not pleasant. While I imagine we all would like to think we’d go to the police, is it so hard to understand wanting things handled quietly by someone you trust? Plenty of rape victims never enlist any outside help.  


July 27th, 2008 at 1:52 PM ^

it's unfair to critize the actions of a mother who found out her daughter was raped.  she went to an institution she trusted rather than one she didn't know and had her trust violated.  rape victims and those who know them frequently find themselves entirely unsure of what to do.  this is normal behavior.  what's irregular is the performance of the university.

Ms. Wolverine

July 24th, 2008 at 3:58 PM ^

You are correct that the private citizen has a right to call the police on this matter, and that the mother or the victim probably shoud have in this case. I don't see how this is relevant to the point of this whole story (the ignorance of Ferentz's comments) which is that the University ALSO should have called the police.

Now it seems like you are highly skeptical that the claims in the mother's letter are true at all, or think that the reporters are inaccurate or dishonest in their reporting of this story. In light of how the University has responded to the letter (namely: not denying anything in it in the least), and the fact that it never went to the Regents when it absolutely should have and Mason had to come up with some bullshit privacy excuse to justify that action - well in light of all this, I think your postition is a pretty unreasonable (if that is indeed your position).

big gay heart

July 24th, 2008 at 4:07 PM ^

I'm not skeptical of the claims at all. The sound as if they could be true. I don't know if they are. That's not for me to evaluate, really.

What I am skeptical of is the claim that evidence was tampered with. That is all. I want to know why the police weren't called. If that involves asking tough questions, so be it. I think that's fair. The mother put this out for public conversation when she wrote two very public letters decrying the University. For my part, I just wish she would have shown such outrage when the event actually occurred. Evidence tampering is unforgivable, in this sense, and perhaps worse than the crime itself. But that's a huge claim based upon the evidence at hand that is specifically RE: tampering with the crime scene or associated elements. 

Blue Durham

July 24th, 2008 at 3:08 PM ^

And to me, what is so paradoxical is that the UI administrators, who are ideally dedicated to truth and knowledge, chose to pursuade this woman to go the only route that would practically ensure that any evidence, facts and truth in this matter would never be unearthed.

And then they have the audacity to pat themselves on the back for a job well done in following their procedures.

Blue Durham

July 24th, 2008 at 2:35 PM ^

This does piss me off on several ways. But first and foremost, the University's administration and AD do NOT in any way have the capabilities to do an "investigation" into such a criminal matter. They are educators and administrators, not NYPD Blue. By encouraging (or even just offerring) the woman to have this handled internally, they are implying in the least that they do have this capability (and they never involved their campus security) and also the ability to deliver some kind of appropriate punishment.

chitownblue (not verified)

July 24th, 2008 at 2:52 PM ^

Blue Durham nails it. I have no idea if the two players in question committed the crime. HOWEVER: Fact 1: Crimes should be investigated by the police. Fact 2: Rape is a crime. Ergo, Rape should be investigated by the police. Take the validity of the victim and her mother completely out of it - the police were not allowed to investigate the crime, or the scene. That's absurd.


July 24th, 2008 at 3:08 PM ^

You can't say on the one hand "procedure was followed perfectly, I wouldn't have done anything differently!", while on the other implying the result of that procedure was unfortunate and sad and blah blah blah. If the result was bad, then it follows that the procedure that was followed oh-so-perfectly is at least flawed, right Kirk? Right? RIGHT?!? Either the procedure was followed, or it wasn't. And if procedure was followed, then the procedure is flawed, or it isn't. There is no straddling the fence here. If you're going to try and imply that procedure was followed perfectly AND you wouldn't have changed a thing about the procedure, then...you've just set back women's rights and women's athletics at the University of Iowa by decades. Good job, Kirk. Say hello to position coaching in the NFL.


July 24th, 2008 at 4:15 PM ^

but clinging to the myth that "everything was done perfectly!" is not the way to get people to trust you.  This was a shitty outcome, and what Kirk is unwittingly doing here is telling the world that at Iowa, this outcome will happen again and again and again and again.

I really have to wonder why Iowa and Ferentz want to tell the world that.  The world will not be amused.