Editor’s note: This story discusses sexual assault. If you need to report or discuss a sexual assault, you can call the Rape & Sexual Assault Crisis Line at 888-421-1100.
A recording of a football team meeting at Utah State University this fall has drawn attention this week for comments made by the police chiefs at the school and at Logan city.
The audio, which is mentioned in a lawsuit filed by a student who reported she was assaulted by a football player, was obtained by The Salt Lake Tribune. And since it became public, USU police Chief Earl Morris has resigned.
Here are excerpts from the recording, which is about 24 minutes long.
USU chief: LDS women could allege sexual assault because they feel ‘regret’
Morris has come under fire for his comments to the team regarding sexual assault. The police chief told each football player to make sure that when he has sex that it’s consensual — especially if he’s with a Latter-day Saint woman.
He suggested that LDS women will often tell their bishop, when questioned about it, that sex was nonconsensual because it’s “easier.” They might be “feeling regret,” he continued, for having sex before marriage, which goes against the faith’s teachings of abstinence, so they’ll say it was assault.
“And if you’re not used to a Mormon community, folks, I’m here to tell you, the Latter-day Saints community ... young ladies, they may have sex with you, but then they’re going to go talk to their minister, their bishop, priest, whatever you want to call it,” Morris said.
Members of the team can be heard laughing and hollering in response to Morris’ comments.
The campus police chief then told the players that no matter what prompts it, if they’re accused of assault, his officers are forced to investigate. And, he added, “the cards are stacked against you from the moment that happens.” He also noted there is a no tolerance for sexual assault.
Attempts to reach Morris were unsuccessful Thursday.
Logan assistant chief: ‘Asking for a friend’
Before the USU police chief made his comments about sexual assault, Assistant Logan Police Chief Jeff Simmons urged the football team to work with his officers, and to not demand a search warrant if officers were coming to break up a loud party.
And if they found themselves in trouble, he said, they could text him “asking for a friend.”
Logan chief: ‘Help us help you’
Logan Police Chief Gary Jensen told the team he wanted the players to “play good ball” and pledged to “work with you to the best of our ability.”
“So help us help you,” he said, “stay on the football team. Go to the NFL. Whatever it is your ultimate goal is.”
Jensen has not commented on the recordings to The Tribune, but in a statement to The Herald Journal in Logan, he said none of his or Simmons’ comments should be interpreted as special treatment for football players.
Correction: 8:30 a.m. Dec. 17, 2021: This story has been updated to correct the identity of the speaker in the second excerpt.