Thursday, November 05, 2009

UW Rape Case Goes to Trial

A jury will soon decide whether the University of Washington violated Title IX in its handling of claims that a football player had raped another student, his former girlfriend. As we have noted in a prior post, the victim, identified in court proceedings only as S.S., argues that university officials failed to encourage or inform S.S. of her rights to the university judicial disciplinary process so that the case could instead be handled by the athletic department. The athletic department, in turn failed to investigate her case because the perpetrator's status as a football player, suppressed the case to avoid negative publicity, and penalized him with community service and counseling rather than suspending him from games. Last year, the court of appeals in Washington agreed that these facts, if proven, would constitute deliberate indifference for which the university is liable under Title IX.

The case has tried before a jury in King County, Washington. The jury received the case yesterday and is deliberating today. At stake are damages up to $800,000.

(Via Ombuds Blog.)