Rego stays home after arrest threat
By Myra McGriff
Saint Mary's Editor
Cooper Rego will not travel to Notre Dame with the West Virginia football team Saturday, the former Irish running back confirmed in a statement Thursday.
Rego said Notre Dame threatened to arrest him if he arrived on campus.
"I received notification today from the University of Notre Dame that the institution will arrest me if I join my West Virginia University teammates at South Bend," Rego said. "This threat contradicts the basic tenets of fairness as well as the understanding that I had with Notre Dame consistently from January 1998 until [Wednesday] morning."
According to Notre Dame alumna Kori Pienovi, Rego allegedly raped her and was banned from campus after an internal disciplinary hearing in 1998. No criminal charges were ever filed against Rego, and he transferred to West Virginia in 1998.
Notre Dame did not make a public statement until Thursday if the University would uphold the alleged ban. While University officials declined to specifically discuss Rego's case, University President Father Edward Malloy issued a statement Thursday stating that when a student is permanently dismissed from campus for disciplinary reasons, the student is prohibited from returning to campus.
"Should the individual come on campus — and campus administrators learn of it — the person is required to leave immediately or face a charge of trespass," Malloy said. "There are no exceptions to this ban."
Rego's coach also confirmed in a statement that Rego would not be traveling to Notre Dame Saturday, stating Rego requested permission not to travel with the team.
"Cooper has made an extremely mature and difficult choice based upon the best interests of his team," said head football coach Rich Rodriguez. "Until today, we have had every intention of playing this game with Cooper on our team. Based upon his decision, that will not happen now."
Denny Moore, spokesman for Notre Dame, said it is University policy to inform a dismissed student of that student's dismissal in writing.
"A person permanently dismissed receives a letter, so to say [the student] is unaware is simply untrue," Moore said.
Pienovi said Thursday she was "proud of [Notre Dame] for standing by their decision and doing the right thing."
She also urged the Notre Dame and Saint Mary's community to wear white shirts in solidarity at Saturday's football game.
"I want to express my deepest thanks to the Notre Dame and Saint Mary's communities for supporting me," Pienovi said. "And when they win one for Kori let that mean they win one for all victims of assault."
All News Stories for Friday, October 12, 2001