R.I.P., Lizzy

My sister sent me a link via e-mail this morning asking, What’s up with this story?

After reading through the story and talking to My Favorite Domer, I feel compelled to respond.

The gist is this: a 19-year-old St. Mary’s College freshman named Lizzy Seeberg and her girlfriend went with two Notre Dame men to the men’s dorm on Aug. 31. The fellow Lizzy was with was an ND football player. After a couple of beers, the foursome went to the football player’s room for a “dance party.” The other couple left, then something happened. Lizzy reportedly was fondled and bullied against her will until the football player’s cell phone interrupted and he “threw her off.” Afterward, Lizzy reported the incident to police. The football player’s story was similar, except he said what happened was consensual. Ten days later, Lizzy was dead after allegedly ingesting an overdose of the anti-depressant Effexor.

This week, the University announced there would be no prosecution, effectively putting the case to an end. Attorneys said the only person who could give Lizzy’s side of the story was Lizzy, yet she’s dead and cannot testify.

So an ugly incident is resolved to nobody’s satisfaction.

In a perfect world, parents wouldn’t have to bury their children. Young women wouldn’t feel so enamored of athletes that they put themselves in compromising situations. Young men wouldn’t take advantage of vulnerable women. Young people wouldn’t resort to suicide to solve temporary problems. And they wouldn’t engage in underage drinking — ever.

Yet we don’t live in a perfect world. Lizzy Seeberg, by her parents’ admission, was “naive” and loved to party. She also battled an anxiety disorder, depression, and panic attacks for years. And the football player reportedly had demons of his own, dealing with issues of aggression and bullying since middle school.

Some have complained that he faced no disciplinary action in the wake of this incident, that he continued playing football for the University even. But if no crime was committed, why punish him? And if a crime was committed and covered up, everybody involved shares in the blame.

While gossiping and finger-pointing might make us feel better, only Lizzy and the unnamed football player really know what happened that night, and they’re not talking.

One no longer can. And that’s sad, very sad.

8 thoughts on “R.I.P., Lizzy

    • Me, too, Lynne. I think more should have been done in investigating this one. After all, 10 days elapsed before this poor girl took her life. Makes you wonder where the counselors were, where the security/cops were, why her family wasn’t there with her, easing her over this. Surely we as a people have advanced beyond such ignorance, haven’t we?

  1. What a senseless tragedy,Deb. I really feel for Lizzy and her family. There are so many unanswered questions but it doesn’t seem right that this “jock” got off the hook so easily.And the fact that Lizzy slipped through the cracks so flawlessly begs even more questions. Thanks for bringing this painful situation to light. It seems like there is much to be learned from this poor girl’s untimely death.

    • You’ve got a darling new picture, Kathy! I’m presuming these are grandsons?? As for Lizzy, it truly is a senseless tragedy. Crime? Maybe. Unfortunately, we’ll probably never know. I can only imagine how heart-broken her family is. As for the boy, I can’t imagine having to endure such a burden, whatever his role in the thing. We’ve got to do a better job educating our young people on how to treat others, how to respect themselves, and how to take responsibility for their actions.

  2. Thanks,Deb. Yes they are my grandsons,my “angelboys” Jacob and Ethan. I guess it is easy to jump to conclusions about what happened with Lizzy . I certainly agree with your ideas about educating our youth.

  3. The trajedy for Notre Dame is that they accepted neither responsibility nor accountability for pursuing justice in a crime that was properly reported and that definitively occurred on campus.

    The fact of the situation is that the football player sexually assaulted Lizzy Seeberg and his friend sent a harrassing text to the girl. Notre Dame should have acted properly and pursued immediate investigation and disciplinary action into this matter against both the football player and the harrassing texter.

    • Thanks for weighing in. You point out some sobering facts (I felt it best to omit the name of the football player in question, as no charges were ever brought). This is another sad incident involving students in South Bend.

    • Thanks for weighing in. You bring up some sobering points, though I felt it best to omit the name of the football player, as no charges were brought. The Notre Dame community has certainly had more than its share of ugly and unpleasant incidents this year.

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