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Saturday, February 22, 2014
LB Prince Shembo says he's innocent

By Michael Rothstein
ESPN.com

INDIANAPOLIS -- Former Notre Dame linebacker and NFL prospect Prince Shembo admitted Saturday he was the player investigated in the 2010 case of a St. Mary's College student who alleged she was inappropriately touched.

The student, Lizzy Seeberg, committed suicide less than two weeks later.

Shembo, who was never charged in the case, made his first public denial of the accusation Saturday.

The No. 17 outside linebacker in the draft according to ESPN.com, Shembo said every team he has spoken with at the NFL scouting combine has asked about the accusations.

He said he tells teams what he believes to be the truth.

"I'm innocent," Shembo said. "I didn't do anything. 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. So, I don't know."

The incident occurred on Aug. 31, 2010. According to ABC News, Seeberg reported it on Sept. 6, 2010. She committed suicide four days later.

Shembo said when he heard that Seeberg, who was a freshman at St. Mary's, committed suicide, he had no idea what was going on.

"I was like, 'What's going on?' " Shembo told ESPN.com on Saturday. "I was a freshman. I don't think games even started, and she was older than me.

"I was like, 'What?' I was confused. They were asking me questions, and I didn't know what they were talking about because I didn't do anything."

Shembo said he is making his first public comments about the incident now because he said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly "told me I couldn't talk about it."

"I wanted to talk about it [then]," Shembo said. "I wanted to, but they had to keep everything confidential. Now that I'm out [of school], I can talk about it."

Shembo did say he did not lobby Notre Dame to speak on the issue because he trusted Kelly to make the correct the decision.

"We talked about it and we just wanted to keep everything, I mean, I didn't get in any trouble or anything," Shembo told ESPN.com. "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."

Notre Dame did not immediately return calls from ESPN.com seeking comment.

According to the ABC News report, Seeberg said in her police statement, "I didn't feel safe in his room ... he proceeded to grab my face and started to kiss me. Tears started rolling down my face because I didn't know what to do ... I felt so scared, I couldn't move."

Notre Dame police didn't interview Shembo until 15 days after Seeberg's death, according to the ABC News report. The St. Joseph County prosecutor's office never filed against Shembo in the case.

Notre Dame police defended its investigation later in 2010 and said the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prohibited the university from speaking about the investigation.