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Meanwhile, USD allegedly awakens rape perps

Two lawsuits charge school with discouraging sexual assault reports

A lawsuit alleging that administrators and faculty at the University of San Diego dissuaded a female law student from reporting a rape to police will move forward, said superior court judge Joel Pressman in a July 16 tentative ruling.

Also today, a previously sealed complaint accuses a university public safety officer of discouraging a woman from reporting a rape to the police.

In the first case, earlier this month, attorneys for the university filed an anti-SLAPP motion (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) requesting that the case be expedited without allowing further discovery to take place. Judge Pressman, while acknowledging that the Title IX hearings held by the school were more likely covered by the anti-SLAPP provision, determined that the university's handling prior to the hearing is not and additional evidence could be brought forth.

The woman, known as Jane Doe, filed the complaint in February of this year. Doe claims she was raped by two men inside a bathroom at a party in May 2013. After the incident Doe informed her family and a psychologist. In September 2013, at the start of a new semester, Doe informed a professor that one of the men who raped her was also enrolled in the course. The instructor, claims Doe, promised to inform school officials while discouraging her from reporting the rape to the police. School officials also steered her from doing so, telling her that accusations of rape "happen all of the time" and many of the female students handle the incidents on their own.

During the following months, fearing for her safety, Doe approached school officials and asked for additional protection from intimidation and harassment. The school allegedly refused to act. Doe also claims that the men were allowed to introduce false evidence during the hearing and at the same time made derogatory statements that the woman had a sordid past and was into "weird" sexual acts.

School officials say they did everything in their power and fully abided by the federal government's Title IX sexual assault requirements. In addition, administrators worked closely with Doe to ensure her safety. An example of doing so was the "no contact" order they implemented that prohibited the men from making any contact with Doe as well as providing her with a special parking place to reduce any additional run-ins with the men.

Today, a new case was made public.

According to a lawsuit from another woman, who is also identified as Jane Doe, she was raped by a male student in her dorm room in February 2014. That night, the woman escaped her room while the man was asleep and found a security guard on campus.

"The public safety officer, an employee of [University of San Diego], asked Doe if she wanted to contact the San Diego Police Department, but simultaneously recommended that Doe not contact [the police] because it would interfere with [their] investigation."

The advice, says the complaint, violated an agreement between the university and the City of San Diego, which requires that all violent crimes, including rape, be handled by the police department. Doe insisted. While being treated at a hospital, police officers contacted her. According to the complaint, as officers spoke to her, the public safety officers took it upon themselves to notify the man who was asleep naked in Doe's dorm room. By doing so, says Doe, the public safety officers knowingly interfered in a police investigation.

During a meeting the following morning, University of San Diego employee Dayanne Izmirian reportedly warned the victim and her mother that going to the police could potentially jeopardize the school's investigation. Izmirian then informed Doe to not speak of the alleged rape with anyone.

Unlike the other Jane Doe, school officials didn’t give her parking accommodations. A school counselor advised her to leave school. She then moved to the East Coast and transferred schools. The complaint goes on to say that University of San Diego administrators later refused to postpone the sexual assault hearing to give her time to fly back to San Diego to attend. In June 2014, Doe was informed that she did not prove her case.

Both lawsuits will now move forward in court.

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A lawsuit alleging that administrators and faculty at the University of San Diego dissuaded a female law student from reporting a rape to police will move forward, said superior court judge Joel Pressman in a July 16 tentative ruling.

Also today, a previously sealed complaint accuses a university public safety officer of discouraging a woman from reporting a rape to the police.

In the first case, earlier this month, attorneys for the university filed an anti-SLAPP motion (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) requesting that the case be expedited without allowing further discovery to take place. Judge Pressman, while acknowledging that the Title IX hearings held by the school were more likely covered by the anti-SLAPP provision, determined that the university's handling prior to the hearing is not and additional evidence could be brought forth.

The woman, known as Jane Doe, filed the complaint in February of this year. Doe claims she was raped by two men inside a bathroom at a party in May 2013. After the incident Doe informed her family and a psychologist. In September 2013, at the start of a new semester, Doe informed a professor that one of the men who raped her was also enrolled in the course. The instructor, claims Doe, promised to inform school officials while discouraging her from reporting the rape to the police. School officials also steered her from doing so, telling her that accusations of rape "happen all of the time" and many of the female students handle the incidents on their own.

During the following months, fearing for her safety, Doe approached school officials and asked for additional protection from intimidation and harassment. The school allegedly refused to act. Doe also claims that the men were allowed to introduce false evidence during the hearing and at the same time made derogatory statements that the woman had a sordid past and was into "weird" sexual acts.

School officials say they did everything in their power and fully abided by the federal government's Title IX sexual assault requirements. In addition, administrators worked closely with Doe to ensure her safety. An example of doing so was the "no contact" order they implemented that prohibited the men from making any contact with Doe as well as providing her with a special parking place to reduce any additional run-ins with the men.

Today, a new case was made public.

According to a lawsuit from another woman, who is also identified as Jane Doe, she was raped by a male student in her dorm room in February 2014. That night, the woman escaped her room while the man was asleep and found a security guard on campus.

"The public safety officer, an employee of [University of San Diego], asked Doe if she wanted to contact the San Diego Police Department, but simultaneously recommended that Doe not contact [the police] because it would interfere with [their] investigation."

The advice, says the complaint, violated an agreement between the university and the City of San Diego, which requires that all violent crimes, including rape, be handled by the police department. Doe insisted. While being treated at a hospital, police officers contacted her. According to the complaint, as officers spoke to her, the public safety officers took it upon themselves to notify the man who was asleep naked in Doe's dorm room. By doing so, says Doe, the public safety officers knowingly interfered in a police investigation.

During a meeting the following morning, University of San Diego employee Dayanne Izmirian reportedly warned the victim and her mother that going to the police could potentially jeopardize the school's investigation. Izmirian then informed Doe to not speak of the alleged rape with anyone.

Unlike the other Jane Doe, school officials didn’t give her parking accommodations. A school counselor advised her to leave school. She then moved to the East Coast and transferred schools. The complaint goes on to say that University of San Diego administrators later refused to postpone the sexual assault hearing to give her time to fly back to San Diego to attend. In June 2014, Doe was informed that she did not prove her case.

Both lawsuits will now move forward in court.

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Comments
5

Any organization's first reaction to anything is to protect the organization. With no outside oversight, the individual rights must be protected by law. In schools, particularly boarding schools, this does not happen. The school is the law. This needs to change. Students have rights like everybody else.

July 17, 2015

At any time, "Jane Doe" could have just gone and reported the alleged rape. I wonder why she didn't. She "feared for her safety", and instead of calling the police, went back to the same school officials who supposedly "refused to take action".

"Doe also claims that the men were allowed to introduce false evidence during the hearing" They could make the same claim, that she's the one providing "false evidence". They could ask why someone is allowed to make anonymous accusations against them but they weren't being allowed to mount a defense.

There's more to this story. I'm always EXTREMELY skeptical when I hear, "Here's a sad tale, you must believe it 100%, you cannot question it, you must accept it at face value or you're a monster." We already live in a society where some allegations, like rape, are considered to be a final proof of guilt in too many cases. We're far better off questioning and looking for the truth instead of accepting the immediate visceral reaction.

July 17, 2015

jnojr, Jane Doe was young, and she was advised by people in authority. But your basic premise is sound - this should be handled through governmental legal processes, not administrative adjudication.

July 17, 2015

There's also TWO women, who have come forward. How horribly unfair, that one had to re-locate. Why not expel or punish the male student?

July 18, 2015

I'm in agreement with jnojr's comment. One rather troubling part of the first lawsuit is that the student and complainant is referred to as a "law student." Even a short stint in law school would have given her a different view of legal proceedings, criminal law, and law enforcement than that of a lay person.

But there's no doubt that USD handled both of these cases poorly. If they'd done a better job, there would be no lawsuits. Actually, adjudicating these matters in a regular court of law would have been the proper procedure. Trying to handle criminal matters in a system that was designed to mete out discipline for academic offenses and petty rule violations just doesn't get the job done.

July 18, 2015

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