Suit: USD ‘discouraged’ victim from reporting rape

SAN DIEGO – The University of San Diego discouraged a student from reporting a sexual assault, according to a civil lawsuit filed by the victim against both the school and her two alleged attackers.

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 13 in San Diego Superior Court by attorney Dan Gilleon and obtained by 10News this week, claims that USD discouraged the victim from reporting the rape to San Diego police.

The lawsuit comes after the university informed students in January that it was being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights over its handling of the case.

No criminal charges have been filed against the school or the alleged attackers to this point.

The victim and the two defendants are not identified by name in the lawsuit, which refers to the victim as “Jane Doe”, and alleged attackers as “Lane Roe” and “Ed Moe.” All three were students at the USD School of Law.

According to the suit, the attack occurred at the apartment of one of the suspects on May 16, 2013, during a party. The victim claims she was raped in a bathroom by both Roe and Moe.

Following the attack, she reported the rape to her family and psychologist and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In September of 2013, after returning from summer break, she reportedly informed one of her professors about the incident. The professor told her he would inform school officials, but “discouraged Doe from reporting the rape to the San Diego Police Department,” the lawsuit reads.

After the professor informed the school, officials allegedly contacted Doe and also discouraged her from “pursuing any action against her rapists.” Furthermore, they asked her not to file a no-contact order against the two men, and told her they could not protect her confidentiality if she went to police, documents state.

“I feel girls should be supported and not discouraged,” the victim told 10News in an interview Wednesday. “I just don’t think it’s fair.”

The lawsuit goes on to read that officials told Doe that female students allege sexual assaults “all the time.” Although they assigned a victim’s advocate to her, it states that the advocate lacked experience with sexual assault and never contacted Doe.

In January 2014 Doe disenrolled from USD.

“I couldn’t go to school,” the victim told 10News Wednesday. “I was filled with panic.”

She returned in September 2014, at which time a no-contact order was issued against Roe and Moe, who were also both interviewed by a school public safety officer. At this time, Doe also reported the assault to San Diego police.

Following an administrative hearing at the school, on Nov. 17, 2014, hearings officers determined there was not enough evidence to prove Doe’s allegations.

The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages from Roe and Moe for allegations of rape, false imprisonment, hate violence, interference of civil rights and gender violence.

It is suing UCD for deliberate indifference by an educational institution, violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act, negligence, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

“They mangled the process,” Gilleon said Wednesday. Gilleon did not specify the exact amount of money his client was seeking.

USD did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday regarding the lawsuit.

In January, 10News obtained an email from USD President Mary Lyons sent to students and staff, informing them of the federal investigation by the Education department.

The email read in part, “… a USD student filed a complaint alleging that the university failed to provide a prompt and equitable resolution to a sexual assault complaint.”

It goes on:

“We take this complaint—and all reports of sexual violence—very seriously, and we will fully cooperate with the investigation.”

President Lyons added that the school updated its policies last year regarding how it deals with reports of assault.

“As many of you know, in 2013 I convened a steering committee consisting of faculty, student and administrative representatives to further enhance our sexual assault prevention policies, educational programs and response services. As a result, in 2014 we updated our Policy Prohibiting Discrimination and Harassment and our Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Reporting and Response Standards and Protocols.

“In the 2014 fall semester, we initiated a campus-wide, video-based sexual violence prevention and educational program to ensure that all are familiar with our policies and better prepared to prevent or respond when confronted with sexual misconduct or assault.

“We also launched a new, dedicated website in 2014, sandiego.edu/care, designed to provide important information about support and resources available for those impacted by sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation.”

USD is a prestigious, private, Catholic university with just more than 8,000 students.

source: http://www.10news.com/news/suit-usd-discouraged-victim-from-reporting-rape

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