Prince Shembo, Linebacker, Accused of Sexual Assault, Accused of Killing a Dog

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Dec 8 2015, 4:00pm

via Getty Images

Position: Linebacker
Height / Weight: 6'1" / 253 lbs
College: University of Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2014 / Round: 4 / Pick: 139
Career history: Atlanta Falcons (2014)


On August 31, 2010, Prince Shembo, then a freshman at Notre Dame, allegedly committed sexual battery on Lizzy Seeberg, a freshman at neighboring school St. Mary's, according to two written statements from Seeberg, one of which was given to campus security. The day after the alleged incident, Seeberg reported that she'd been sexually assaulted by a football player to Notre Dame Security Police. She received treatment at a local hospital, consented to a DNA evidence kit, and was offered counseling.

According to the St. Joseph County's prosecutor's office and Seeberg's parents, Seeberg later received a text from one of Shembo's friends that said, "Don't do anything you would regret. Messing with notre dame [sic] football is a bad idea." Seeberg reported the text to authorities, according to the press release from the St. Joseph County's prosecutor's office in Indiana.

Ten days after the alleged assault, Seeberg died from an apparent suicide.

Notre Dame Security Police notified the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office of the alleged assault on November 17, 2010, nearly three months after the alleged assault occurred. On December 16, 2010, the St. Joseph County prosecutor's office said in a press release that it would not file criminal charges against Shembo "based on the likelihood that Ms. Seeberg's statements—as a consequence of her untimely death on September 10, 2010—would be found inadmissible in a court of law because of evidentiary rules involving hearsay."

Seeberg's case sparked a federal review of Notre Dame by the US Department of Education for the university's failure to comply with Title IX. The DOE arrived at an agreement with Notre Dame after the university pledged to make reforms in its handling of such cases.

At the time, Shembo was not publicly identified as the alleged perpetrator.

In February 2014, at the NFL scouting combine, Shembo publicly acknowledged to the press that he was the football player investigated as a suspect in the Seeberg sexual assault case after more than two dozen prospective teams who interviewed him asked him about the incident. He told ESPN, "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." He was drafted in the fourth round by the Atlanta Falcons.


On May 29, 2015, Shembo was arrested in Buford, GA, and charged with felony animal cruelty after his then-girlfriend, Denicia Williams, alleged that he had killed her dog, a Yorkshire terrier named Dior. According to the police report, Williams was visiting Shembo's apartment with her dog on April 15, 2015. According to the report, after calling for Dior, she eventually found the dog unresponsive in a crate with Shembo's dog. Williams took Dior to an animal hospital where the dog eventually died. A necropsy revealed that Dior died from blunt force trauma and suffered several injuries such as a fractured rib, abdominal hemorrhage, head trauma, eye injuries, and extensive bruising in the muscles. According to the police report, Williams said that Shembo admitted to her to having kicked Dior more than once.

Shembo was released from the Atlanta Falcons the same day he was arrested by Gwinnett Couty police. A statement released by the team said, "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

In August 2015, Shembo admitted to having kicked the Yorkie, out of self-defense. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of misdemeanor cruelty to animals. He was fined $1,000 and ordered to do community service.

Shembo did not return Broadly's request for comment.