We all know how this story ends…
But let’s look at the timeline to see how we all got here. Starting in February 2010 when highly-recruited University of Missouri swimmer Sasha Menu Courey was allegedly raped.
In August 2010 – Shasha informed the MU athletic department that she’d been hospitalized for a “major depressive disorder” and had a herniated disc.
Next in December 2010 – Shasha contacted an online rape crisis hotline, saving a transcript of that conversation. Then near the end of that month, she told her campus therapist for the first time that she’d been raped.
In January 2011 – head swimming coach Greg Rhodenbaugh benched Courey from workouts and competitions. He told “Outside the Lines” that “he had no idea she allegedly had been raped. He said his decision to separate her from her teammates was made to motivate her to continue regular counseling.”
Shasha was in a back brace for the disc issue and getting benched was an enormous blow to her already fragile state. She felt “kicked off the team,” and sent a text to her coach saying as much. Rhodenbaugh said, “Swimming was something important to her, [so] we were trying to get her to go to the counseling.”
No longer participating in her sport and away from her friends on the team, Shasha’s spiral continued and she began to experience severe mood swings.
March 2011 brought on a new low, seeing her teammates away at nationals without her, Shasha checked herself into the MU’s psychiatric center. While completing the form shown below, she told the nurse, and later two doctors were informed, she had been raped by “a football player.”
Shasha was confined for 10 days and diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Attending physician Blaise Aguirre, later told “Outside the Lines” the disorder had been aggravated by the alleged assault.
She was released to her parents.
Shasha told her mom and dad she wanted to spend some time with friends, but in actuality, she went to a local hotel and slashed her wrist. Police were called and had to pepper spray and tase her to get the razorblade away from her; she meant business.
Shasha was hospitalized again on a 96-hour involuntary basis. While in the hospital, Meghan Anderson, a MU athletics staffer, paid her a visit – but not with a Get Well card and a Hallmark Moment – but to present her with a Withdrawal Form.
Shasha signed it, but only after expressing her desire to continue her schooling and the fact that she was legally incapacitated at the time.
Rhodenbaugh said the withdrawal form was a method to preserve her grades and prospects of returning, adding, “Even though the university had (Shasha) sign withdrawal paperwork she could have returned to the school and swim team if she had gotten healthy.”
But But “healthy” isn’t where Shasha was headed.
April 2011 – Menu Courey was moved by her parents to Boston and admitted to McLean Hospital, a facility specializing in treatment for borderline personality disorder. She contemplated a return to MU while hospitalized, according to emails and her journal entries, but didn’t know where her scholarship stood.
In May 2011 – Menu Courey wrote in her journal that she called Anderson in the athletics department and informed her of the rape. Phone records confirm a call but Anderson denied to “Outside the Lines” that Shasha had told her she’d been assaulted.
Anderson admits Shasha asked if she could some back and told “Outside the Lines.” “Ultimately that is not my decision, rather the decision resided in her healthcare providers, family and herself to decide whether returning to Mizzou was the best decision for her future. Academically, she was able to return since she left on good academic standing; however the other elements involved were not my decision, rather those closest to her and administration at Mizzou.”
May 24, 2011 – Mizzou’s Director of Student Financial Aid sent Shasha a letter saying she was no longer eligible for financial aid because she had withdrawn from school. MU officials told “Outside the Lines” the letter was a form letter sent to 1,472 students, and it was not referring to her athletic scholarship, saying they had planned to take steps to reinstate her aid, if she returned.
Hey, if I was a depressed, unstable college student, I’d haveread that as the end of the road. Period.
On June 15, 2011, while still hospitalized, Shasha somehow managed to collect 100 Tylenols, contemplated where she saw her life and swallowed hard.
Two days later, she died of organ failure.
Her best friend, Woodland, the man she tried to call during the assault, got the phone call that she had died.
“My whole body just went numb,” he said. “She was my best friend.”
Next Up -Part 3 – what could have been done that wasn’t and who’s to blame?