Eastern athletics department’s history of sexual assault


Screengrab from Malorie Henderlong’s YouTube channel of her video. In the video, Henderlong gives her testimony and story about her alleged sexual assault by a fromer Eastern Illiinois baseball player in April of 2017.

Autumn Schulz, Sports Editor

 On April 29, 2020, former Eastern women’s soccer midfielder Malorie Henderlong posted a 13-minute-long YouTube video telling the story of her alleged sexual assault by a former Eastern baseball player. 

Since the posting of the video, there has been no reported resolution to the case. 

Henderlong says in the video that she was sexually assaulted on April 29, 2017, and in May of 2020, both Eastern and the Eastern athletic department said that they knew of the sexual assault complaint filed by Henderlong on May 6, 2017. 

Henderlong said in the video that her and her friends were throwing one of her fellow teammates their 21st birthday party. Those at the party included close friends, teammates and a few members of the 2017 Eastern baseball team. 

Henderlong said in the video that she had gotten to know a particular member of the baseball team pretty well. She said that they had studied together and hung out multiple times. 

Throughout the night of the party, Henderlong’s alleged attacker offered her alcohol. 

“I took the alcohol and began to engage in conversation, dance some more, and before I knew it, I was completely intoxicated,” Henderlong said in the video. 

Henderlong said that she left the party with a group of friends and her alleged attacker and headed to the bars. At 2:03 a.m., Henderlong was alone with her alleged attacker and due to her intoxicated status, he was able to pick her up over his shoulder and carry her to his apartment where the alleged assault took place. 

Henderlong said in the video Athletic Director Tom Michael was made aware of the incident, and the alleged sexual assault was required to be reported to the police and to University President David Glassman. 

“I expected the situation to be handled properly. It wasn’t,” Henderlong said. “I ended up transferring, and he ended up still playing baseball at EIU.” 

The accused baseball player was allowed to finish out the rest of the 2017 season and return to play for Eastern during the 2018 season. 

On May 1, 2020, Eastern released a statement in response to Henderlong’s video stating that “Then and now, Eastern Illinois University has policies and procedures in place to address and investigate claims of sexual violence, including a non-biased complaint process and review.” 

The statement went on to say that “Though the severity of this circumstance makes it difficult to understand, as students Ms. Henderlong and her alleged attacker have inherent privacy rights. For that reason, EIU is not able to comment on the matter other than it was brought to our attention on May 6, 2017.” 

The statement also said that “By her testimony, Ms. Henderlong has found peace. We wish her continued success on that path and in all her future pursuits.” 

A second Eastern student came forward in May of 2020 and said that she was sexually assaulted by an Eastern football player in September of 2019. 

Her name was kept anonymous by The News for privacy reasons. 

The student reported the assault to Eastern and a Title IX investigation was conducted, and the investigation found the player guilty and recommended that he was suspended from the team. 

Both Glassman and Michael were made aware of the assault and the recommendation that the player be suspended from the team, but the player was able to finish out the season, according to The News’ article in 2020. 

An Eastern professor, who remained anonymous and was a part of the investigation, told The News that the board that carried out the investigation asked Glassman and Lynette Drake, former Vice President of Student Affairs, about why the player was still playing but they were met with “little interest from the administrators,” told to The News in 2020. 

Last week, The News sent out an anonymous Google form to the Eastern community, encouraging everyone to participate, including those in the Eastern athletics department. 

Two female Eastern athletes responded to the form. Both athletes said that the athletics department has talked to them about what to do if sexual assault or harassment occurs. 

One of the female athletes is a member of the women’s soccer team. Her experience happened on campus, and it was reported to either the University Police Department or Student Accountability. 

She said that “One incident was when he touched me aggressively without my consent and had intentions of sexual contact. Another incident is when he kept putting his hands in inappropriate places without my consent.” 

She said that the result of her report was that her attacker was informed, and that they had to stay away from the team. 

One of the questions on the Google form was are there ways that EIU could improve sexual assault prevention or how the report is handled by UPD or Student Accountability. 

The soccer athlete responded by saying “I think they should be able to have more control in what the consequences are for the person that committed the assault.” 

JJ Bullock contributed to this article. 

Autumn Schulz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]