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Shembo confirms claims

| Monday, February 24, 2014

For the first time publicly, former Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo confirmed he was the Irish football player involved in the Lizzy Seeberg sexual assault investigation in 2010.
In the fall of 2010, Shembo’s first semester on campus, Seeberg, a Saint Mary’s student, accused a Notre Dame football player of sexually assaulting her in her dorm room. In the coming days, Seeberg reportedly received text messages from a friend of the football player that said, “Messing with Notre Dame football is a bad idea.”
Seeberg committed suicide 10 days after the alleged assault and charges were never filed.
Shembo’s name popped up online in relation to the investigation but was never officially connected to the alleged sexual assault.
After playing four years with the Irish, Shembo is now prepping for a potential career in the NFL and said teams have asked him about the situation.
“I just tell [NFL team executives] the truth, I have nothing to hide,” Shembo said to Blue and Gold Illustrated while at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “No one’s heard from me one time. Do you go off of one person’s story?”
Shembo said he was not surprised about the questions because the allegations were a simple search away.
“Everyone that does the background check can type my name in and you’ll see all the stuff that people have said about me and have never heard from my mouth,” he said.
Shembo said Irish coach Brian Kelly told him he was not allowed to talk on the matter publically, despite his desire to.
“My name was going to flames and it just made my name look bad and I can’t even speak,” Shembo said.
Notre Dame declined to comment Sunday.

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  • Joan Reacher

    Hopefully he understands that Kelly was right. At same time, I understand the frustration. The poor girl was a loon and her family and some people in the media have tried to blame everyone except the poor loon’s mental health issues for her untimely death. RIP Lizzy and the non-issue.

    • Katie Garvey

      If Shembo is so frustrated and eager to clear his name, he should be
      happy to answer questions raised about his alleged history of
      disciplinary problems. And, of course Kelly wanted him to keep quiet; he
      recruited him and either knew or should have known the risk he was


    • bill seeberg

      Where do I begin in replying to such a mean spirited post. First, as a matter of fact, the Seeberg family has never blamed Notre Dame or Shembo for Lizzy’s death. The fact that
      others, who either can’t comprehend the written word or have jumped to unfounded
      conclusions based upon speculation, have placed that blame in many ways has
      clouded the issue that the family has tried to bring to light. Namely, that in
      the days immediately after Lizzy’s allegations of sexual battery, the Notre
      Dame police force did not do their job and investigate the alleged incident in
      a professional manner. One example, among others, is that they didn’t interview
      Shambo until 15 days after the alleged attack (5 days after Lizzy’s death). That
      she received a threatening text from Shembo’s friend about messing with ND
      football and that this was seen as “boys being boys” by the Notre Dame
      community helps define the environment that Lizzy found herself in. Second, to
      categorize my niece as a loon is not only just plain wrong but also incredibly
      insensitive. If you met Lizzy on the street, you would not know that she
      suffered from bouts of depression just like one in ten Americans according to
      the CDC. As a matter of fact, you would probably think the opposite, and you
      would remark about her vitality, energy and can do spirit. If you worked with her on any of the numerous charities she gave her time to, you would wonder where she gets the
      energy and determination to fight for causes that seem so unattainable. The
      fact is the world was a lot better place when Lizzy was alive. To dismiss
      someone so full of life as a loon, not only does her memory a great disservice
      but makes you look ignorant, heartless and cruel.

      • Guest

        Except, NDSP did do their job. Lizzie’s first written statement was completely different from that of the other two people (not counting said football player) that were in the room at the time. NDSP asked her to submit another one, and she did it two days before she died.

        Also, the subpoenaed phone records, as far as I’m aware, showed no record of such a text message taking place.

        You also don’t mention that she already withdrew from another school for depression. Yes, it’s a common thing and very stigmatized, but if it’s bad to the point of withdrawing from school, there’s other issues.

        Also, it did seem, to me, that her family was very quick to blame Notre Dame for everything that happened, even though the University and NDSP did everything to the best of their abilities.

        Now, calling her a “loon” is disrespectful to both her memory and to all who suffer from depression and other mental disorders, but the entire thing isn’t as one-sided as you would lead us to believe.

        • Bill Seeberg

          I’ll try to take your points one at a time.
          1. In your first paragraph, to back up your statement that
          the police did a good job, you state that two other people told a different story to the police. What does that have to do with the job the police did? Are you aware that the two were Shembo’s friends, not Lizzy’s? Are you aware that it was one of them who sent the threatening text message that I’ll get to in a minute. Any possibility in your mind that they could have lied to back up their friend’s story?
          2. Please google “images of Lizzy Seeberg’s text message”
          and you will find pictures of the text from Lizzy’s phone. Do a little reading and you will find that both ND and the police stated that they would not discipline the student who sent the threatening text. Not sure why they would make such a statement if no text existed.
          3. It is true that Lizzy transferred. I’m not sure what that has to do with anything I wrote in my response to Ms. Reacher. In my reply, I tried to make two points: that the Seeberg family has never blamed anyone for Lizzy’s suicide as Reacher insinuates, and that to characterize Lizzy as a loon is both insensitive and unfair.
          4. In your penultimate paragraph, you state that the police did everything to the best of their abilities. Can you explain to me how waiting 15 days to interview one the two key players in this alleged assault is good police work? It is a maxim of police procedure to get the stories of the witnesses as close to the time of the incident as possible. Memories are still fresh and it gives those who would lie less time to concoct a story. How is it possible that they couldn’t find him for 15 days? I would submit that there are no other students on your campus who lives are more structured and scheduled than football players. I would guess that some coach knows where they are a good part of every day. I wonder how quickly the interview would have happened if Shembo were told that he couldn’t play football until an interview was conducted. I’ve heard the lament that it would be unfair to take him off the field because he’s innocent until proven guilty. My question is, how do you know he’s innocent until you ask him? If he was guilty of the assault, as Lizzy alleged, do you think it was more likely that he would tell the truth while she was a live or after she was dead? By the way the police were so tuned into this case that they still waited 5 days after her death to see what Shembo had to say.

          Bill Seeberg

        • Francesca

          ND DID NOT do their job. They failed to even take a blood alcohol test to prove their was underaged drinking going on. Where was the Stanford rector, where were the adults allowing this assault to happen. Let’s start with that and everything was botched. Karma has come around and now Prince Shembo has it coming back his way.

      • Joan Reacher

        Oh really, did you read your brother’s comment? How about the Chicago Tribune today? How about Hellenberger’s article just before the natty last year? Depression is a serious illness, I apologize if Loon is offensive. But ND and Shembo should not become victims of her depression too and your family could certainly come to their defense as opposed to letting it sit out there that they killed her.

        • bill seeberg

          Joan, do you remember what we are arguing about? You claimed that members of my family blamed Notre Dame and Shembo for Lizzy’s death. I’m saying that you are wrong. Please tell me where in my brother’s post he assigns blame for her suicide. I did just read a Tribune article from today entitled “Ex-ND Player’s Remarks Reopen Wound”. Is that the article you are referring to? If so, I see no mention in that article of anyone blaming ND or Shembo for Lizzy’s death. When you refer to Hellenberger, I assume you mean Hennenberger. I’ve read some articles by her, but I couldn’t reference the one you seem to be referring to because I don’t know what “the natty” in your post means. Could you give me a little context? Once again, please remember your accusation is that people in my family have publicly blamed Shembo and Notre Dame for Lizzy’s death. If you have specific examples with quotes proving your point, let’s see them. If you don’t, please admit that you are wrong and let’s move on.

          Lastly, I’ll leave you with a quote from Lizzy’s dad recorded a few days ago that I hope will put this to rest. Here’s what he said, “I wanted to make the point about Lizzy’s death that we’ve never blamed ND or Shembo for Lizzy’s death. We stayed away from that and there’s a lot of people who want to make this about that. You can speculate about that, but the Seeberg family has not gone down that road. We’ve never sued anybody; we don’t have any plans of suing anybody. We thought that was the purest way to go.”

    • Francesca

      Have you seen her medical records? Have you read the medical records of Prince Shembo? Are you a medical professional? What you are doing is a disservice to women. ND botched the investigation in so many ways til sun down. The fact appears to us that Lizzy had a panic attack when she was assaulted by Shembo LICKING her breast. She became terrified and did what Saint Mary’s had taught her to do—report. If a drunk member of the Notre Dame football team was licking my breast I would do a lot more!

  • James P. Seeberg ND”77

    I will remind my brother Bill that Ms. Reacher is more than likely part of the Notre Dame spin machine who attempt to muddy the waters with half truths and innuendo about Lizzy while conveniently refusing to discuss any past behavioral problems of Shembo’s. The same investigation conducted by the NDPD and susequent University’s handling of this tragedy was deemed “wholly inadequate” by the DOE who conducted a 7 month independent review resulting in Notre Dame agreeing to an overhaul of their process under the threat of losing Title IX funding. Incidently, this results of the NDPD investigation ultimately found to be lacking was what was rushed over to the local DA on the same day that Notre Dame was informed by the Chicago Tribune that they were printing a story the next day. Remember now, this is months after the police were first notified of the alleged assault. In a similiar case involving sexual assault claims against members of the Marquette basketball team in 2011, unlike the South Bend prosecutor, the Milwaukee prosecutor was unwilling to allow Marquette to use his office to “wash their hands” of the allegations when information was turned over to his office months after the allegations were made. In his words, his office, which includes the Milwaukee Police Dept.” were inhibited by the fact that that it(his office) did not receive this information until several months after the incident occurred. Furthermore he stated “it highlights that when proper procedure is not followed it prevents an untainted interwiew with any suspect and provides an opportunity for the individuals allegedly involved as suspects or witnesses to compare recollections regarding the circumstances of the alleged misconduct.” Apparently the phrase “timely” investigation” means 2 different things in Milwaukee and South Bend.

    • Joan Reacher

      Bill claimed your family never blamed ND? Thanks for proving him wrong, as did Tom in the Trib today. I’m sorry for your loss, but your family has helped make Shembo and ND additional victims of her mental illness. That scathing Washington Post story by a former alum (yes I consider her former) is included in your attacks because y’all backed her up.

      • Katie Garvey

        Notre Dame’s treatment of Lizzy’s complaint prompted the civil rights
        office of the Department of
        Education for the first time in 30 years to launch an investigation
        without waiting for a formal complaint to be filed. Russlyn Ali, the
        assistant secretary for civil rights at the DOE was quoted as saying
        that it was the Seeberg case that prompted the office to use its
        authority “to respond rapidly to an
        egregious case.” As a result of that investigation, Notre Dame signed a
        settlement agreement whereby the university was forced to revamp its
        assault policy in order to avoid a possible civil rights finding that
        could have cost the school its federal funding under Title IX.

        Laying blame for Lizzy’s death was never the goal; the Seebergs acted
        to protect future potential victims of sexual assault. And I think you
        would have to agree that they were successful in securing significant changes in how such investigations are currently conducted,
        not just at Notre Dame but on all college campuses.

        Can you at least agree with the DOE, who spent 7 months studying the matter, that ND’s investigation of Lizzy’s claim lacked integrity?

      • bill seeberg

        Joan, it appears that you have just changed the dynamic of our discussion. In your original post, which got this whole argument started, you claimed that my family publicly blamed “everyone” (who I assumed you took to be ND and Shembo) for Lizzy’s death, the key word here being “death”. We have lots to blame Notre Dame for, but Lizzy’s death is not one of those. I wonder if it would be helpful for you to reread your original post and then if you wish to continue the discussion stay on point so that we are arguing about the same things.

  • Francesca

    I was an advocate that investigated sexual assaults from ND. They cover them up and DO NOT investigate. The school seems to be able to do thorough investigations when they want but failed to respond AGAIN in this sexual assault case that proved ND football players violated their team underage drinking policies at a minimum. There were many more rapes this year at ND. Somehow this school cannot understand why sexual assault is so prevalent. Very similar to how the Catholic Church hid sexually deviant priests. Coach Kelly, Jack Swarbrick and Father Jenkins hindered the investigation and as a result of their continued lack of attention to the sexual assaults at ND, more women continue to be assaulted in 2013 and 2014.