Incident report describes Bergeron hitting woman
An incident report filed with the Texas A&M University-Commerce University Police Department includes testimony that Joe Bergeron, 21, of Mesquite, a running back for the school’s football team, struck fellow student Sarah Beasley, 20, of Commerce, during a party at the Kappa Alpha fraternity house at 2208 Bryan St. in Commerce during the early morning hours of Oct. 9.
Bergeron was suspended for an unspecified violation of team policy on Oct. 10. A statement released by head football coach Colby Carthel on Oct. 10 said the suspension was the result of an off-campus incident.
“We have instituted a suspension from competition and team activities for violation of team and department policy while the university conducts its investigation,” Carthel said. “It is also department policy not to comment further regarding ongoing investigations.”
Bergeron, a senior, was a late-summer transfer to A&M-Commerce following his dismissal from the University of Texas football team, also for unspecified violations of team policy.
Bergeron missed the team’s Oct. 11 game at Angelo State, but returned to play the rest of the regular season’s games.
The incident report contains testimony by Beasley that the trouble began at The Drunken Mule, a bar in Commerce. An argument between a friend of Beasley and a friend of Bergeron happened there, the report said.
Beasley’s account said that later that night, Beasley approached Bergeron outside the Kappa Alpha house. A verbal confrontation between the two escalated when Beasley “flicked” Bergeron’s baseball cap and then knocked a cup from Bergeron’s hand, the report said.
Bergeron then struck Beasley on the left side of her face, the report said. Bergeron then turned away and went into the Kappa Alpha house, the report said. Beasley followed him inside and Bergeron then pushed her into a wall inside the house, the report said. Beasley then moved toward Bergeron to “fight back” and Bergeron hit her on the left side of the face with an open hand, the report said.
After that, others at the party separated the two, the report said. Bergeron left the house and Beasley spent the night there, the report said.
“We interviewed a number of people after learning of the incident,” university athletics director Ryan Ivey said. “We conducted our own investigation and the university did its own investigation.”
“We decided that the punishment he received was warranted and moved on from there,” Ivey said.
Texas A&M University-Commerce investigated Bergeron for a possible violation of the university’s student code of conduct. That process was separate from the investigation conducted by the Department of Athletics. On Oct. 23, a university official confirmed that the school’s investigation had concluded, but declined to provide any details about the timeline of the investigation, its findings, or any actions taken as a result of the investigation. Federal laws governing the privacy of student information typically prohibit universities from making such information public.
The University Police Department incident report, dated Oct. 9, also named Elizabeth Beasley, age not given, of Rowlett; Joshua Tate Downtain, 21, of Commerce; Andrew James Hensley, 19, of Royse City; and Samuel Osborne Tully, 25, of Rockwall as witnesses to the incident. The report was taken by Detective Sgt. Shane Kyle Lowe.
Sarah Beasley did not file charges, either with the University Police Department or with the Commerce Police Department, according to University Police Lt. Jason Bone and Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews. The University Police incident report described the status of the incident as “Cleared Internally.”
The incident report said that “an advisor for Kappa Alpha order” initiated the report. Sgt. Lowe, after being contacted by the unnamed advisor, told the advisor to confer with fraternity members to determine an organizational response to the incident. A short time later, the report said, Downtain contacted Sgt. Lowe and arranged for Lowe to take a statement from Sarah Beasley at the Kappa Alpha house.
Downtain told Sgt. Lowe that because Bergeron was “a star running back for the football team,” Beasley was nervous about reporting the incident and did not want to be seen going into the University Police Department offices.
Beasley’s father, Neil, is a reporter for Fox Sports Southwest, which has also reported the incident.
Bergeron, an All-Lone Star Conference second-team running back, played in 10 games for A&M-Commerce. Bergeron rushed 148 times for 896 yards (5.8 per carry, 89.5 per game) and scored 12 touchdowns. The senior also caught 15 passes for 187 yards and scored two touchdowns receiving.
A&M-Commerce finished the regular season 8-3 and won the Lone Star Conference championship. The Lions will face East Central (Okla.) in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Copperas Cove on Dec. 6.