Notre Dame football player says he's innocent in sexual battery case

Former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo said he is innocent in an alleged sexual battery against Elizabeth "Lizzy" Seeberg, who committed suicide in 2010.

Shembo was not charged for the incident or suspended from school, but addressed the allegations for the first time at the National Football League Scouting Combine Feb. 22 in Indianapolis. Shembo is entering May's NFL draft.

"I didn't do anything," Shembo said, according to "I'm pretty much, I'm the one who ended it and pretty much told the girl that we should stop, that we shouldn't be doing this and that's what happened."

Shembo, according to multiple reports, said he stayed silent about the case under orders from Brian Kelly, head coach at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

"We talked about it and we just wanted to keep everything, I mean, I didn't get in any trouble or anything," Shembo told "I wasn't in trouble with the law or nothing. No reason to talk about it.

"The reason I wanted to talk was just to clear up my name. My name was in flames, pretty much."

Kelly said the university never "threatened" Shembo to remain silent, but it was Shembo's decision not to speak publicly.

"We made a decision based upon the information we had," Kelly said at a news conference, according to the Chicago Tribune. "We felt it was in Prince's best interest that this was not a matter that needed to be discussed. 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."

The alleged attack happened Aug. 31, 2010, in Shembo's room. Seeberg, who attended nearby St. Mary's College, notified Notre Dame campus police of the incident the next day. According to St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, Seeberg's complaint did not involve rape but sexual battery involving touching of breasts.

In the days after the incident, Seeberg received a text message warning her about "messing with" Notre Dame football from a friend of Shembo's. On Sept. 10, 2010, Seeberg, who battled depression and an anxiety disorder, missed a counseling session and was found unconscious and barely breathing in her dorm room. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died of a drug overdose from prescription medication.

According to the Chicago Tribune in November 2010, campus authorities did not initially tell county police about Seeberg's report, nor did campus police refer the case to the county's special victims unit. Notre Dame police didn't contact Shembo until five days after Seeberg died.

Join the Conversation

Send your thoughts and reactions to Letters to the Editor. Learn more here