University of Kansas

Former KU football player accused of sexual assault by two rowers is removed from Indiana State roster

Former KU football long snapper Jordan Goldenberg
Former KU football long snapper Jordan Goldenberg KU Athletics photo

A former Kansas football player accused of sexually assaulting two former KU women’s rowers was removed from the Indiana State football team Thursday after university administration there learned more information about him.

Daisy Tackett and Sarah McClure claim in separate lawsuits filed against the University of Kansas that they were each sexually assaulted at different times by the same KU football player, referred to in court documents as John Doe G.

Jordan Goldenberg Jr. is John Doe G, according to a person with knowledge of one of the sexual assault allegations. Attorneys for the Goldenberg family told The Star that Jordan Goldenberg Jr. “strongly denies” the allegations of sexual assault contained in the lawsuits.

Goldenberg, who is from the St. Louis area, appeared in KU’s first seven games of the 2015 season as a long snapper but did not play in the final five games, after both women reported claims that they were sexually assaulted by Goldenberg to KU officials.

His position coach, former KU special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Gary Hyman, was moved to an off-field role by KU head coach David Beaty Dec. 20 and hired as Indiana State’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach in February.

Goldenberg left KU in March. He appeared on the Indiana State football roster on the team’s website as late as 11 a.m. Thursday.

Jim McClure, Sarah’s father, said Friday when contacted at his home in Illinois, “It’s horrific, the fact that my daughter continues to struggle with this while this young man transfers to another school, puts on a jersey and continues to play football.”

Jim McClure, father of former KU rower Sarah McClure, who was allegedly raped in Jayhawker Towers, spoke on Thursday, June 9, 2016, about his daughter's recovery and the need for the University of Kansas to change.

Sarah McClure said she struggles with the trauma of sexual assault “every single second of every day, and so should he. He can’t just move on with his life. He does not get a pass. That just is not allowed.”

The McClures did not mention Goldenberg by name.

The Star on Thursday requested an interview with Goldenberg through Indiana State’s football media relations director and received an email response that night from Indiana State director of communications Libby Roerig, who wrote that Goldenberg was not on the football team.

After The Star asked why Goldenberg was no longer on the team, Roerig replied by email Friday morning, writing:

“Jordan Goldenberg Jr. has been removed from the Indiana State University football team, effective Aug. 25. The upper administration of the athletics department and football team recently learned more information about Goldenberg and after a review, decided it was best for him to focus on obtaining his degree.

“Steps have been taken to ensure this situation is not repeated. Because of privacy limitations, the University will not release further details.”

Tackett, who is set to begin classes at New York University in early September, told The Star on Friday that simply being removed from a sports team should not be enough punishment for someone who has been accused multiple times of sexual assault.

“They should not be on a college campus at all,” said Tackett, who also did not refer to Goldenberg by name.

Goldenberg was still listed in the Indiana State online student directory as of Friday afternoon.

KU Athletics has declined comment on the allegations made by Tackett and McClure, citing pending litigation. KU media relations director Erinn Barcomb-Peterson has previously said the university does not comment on individual sexual assault investigations but added that “any suggestion that we do not support those who report sexual assault on our campuses is baseless.”

Daisy Tackett’s parents sued the University of Kansas on March 11 under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. That suit, filed by James and Amanda Tackett, essentially accused the university of false advertising — by promising their dorms were safe and secure. It also accused the university of omitting material facts about alleged incidents of sexual assaults on the campus in efforts to boost enrollment.

McClure later joined that lawsuit.

In separate lawsuits claiming KU violated Title IX by creating a hostile educational environment, Daisy Tackett and McClure allege they were sexually assaulted in KU’s Jayhawker Towers by the same football player. Their lawsuits claim that the university failed to protect them before and after the alleged attacks.

Daisy Tackett also claims, in an amended lawsuit filed Aug. 9 in U.S. District Court by her attorney, Dan Curry, that KU had an official policy requiring women’s rowers to attend KU football games.

“Even two rowers like Plaintiff and Sarah McClure, who had been sexually assaulted by a KU football player, were encouraged and expected to attend and root on the KU football players under KU’s policy,” the petition read.

The amended suit also claims KU encouraged female athletes to attend parties with football recruits when they were entertained at hotels just off campus.

Tackett was allegedly assaulted her freshman year shortly after arriving on campus in fall 2014. She did not report the assault to police initially, but told her rowing team trainer after hearing in October 2015 from McClure that she too had been assaulted by the same football player.

According to her lawsuit, McClure was sexually assaulted on Aug. 29, 2015 and she reported the assault to Lawrence Police and KU security on Oct. 19, 2015. The Douglas County District Attorney’s office did not file charges after receiving the police report, citing insufficient evidence. Goldenberg was never charged with a crime as a result of any of the allegations.

Both women also reported they were sexually assaulted to KU Athletics and the KU Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, which investigates reports of Title IX violations.

“I reported my assault, and KU turned my experience into a living nightmare,” McClure said at the time she filed suit, under an anonymous name. “Meanwhile, KU put the Jayhawk on my assailant’s back and told him to play football for the university.”

In the Title IX lawsuit that Daisy Tackett filed against the university, it charges that KU was “deliberately indifferent to the sexual harassment of a student by another student.” It also charges that after reporting the alleged attack, Tackett was stalked by the football player and retaliated against by members of the KU rowing team coaching staff.

That suit also claims that after learning about Tackett’s report of sexual assault by a football player, head rowing coach Rob Catloth refused to allow her to travel with the team and threatened to block her transfer to another school.

Tackett is no longer rowing collegiately; she says she could not transfer to a rowing program at the same level as KU’s. Finding another school was a long process, she says, that included research into the university’s history with sexual assault and Title IX.

Meanwhile, male athletes seemingly receive easier routes to a fresh start, she said.

“Athletes are put on a pedestal,” she said. “It’s insulting to victims everywhere to hear about another athlete getting another chance.”

Former KU rower Daisy Tackett filed a lawsuit on March 21, 2016 against the University of Kansas alleging she was sexually assaulted in a dormitory by a KU football player. Tackett filed the suit in Douglas County for alleged violations of Title I

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

Jesse Newell: 816-234-4759, @jessenewell

Ashley Scoby: 816-234-4875, @AshleyScoby