University of Connecticut in $1.2 million settlement deal on sex assault lawsuit

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 18, 2014 10:30 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - The University of Connecticut on Friday said it had reached a $1.2 million deal to settle a 2013 lawsuit filed by five current and former students charging that the school had mishandled claims of sexual assault and harassment.

The five women who brought the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Connecticut said university officials had not seriously investigated claims that they had been sexually assaulted on campus.

"This lawsuit may have been settled, but the issue of sexual assault on college campuses has not been," UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement posted online. "UConn, like all colleges and universities, must do all it can to prevent sexual violence on our campuses, hold perpetrators accountable, and provide victims with the resources and compassion they desperately need."

The lawyer representing the women did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The deal comes at a time of intense scrutiny over how U.S. colleges and universities handle sex crimes. The White House in April declared an "epidemic" of sex assaults on campus.

The University of Connecticut is among 55 U.S. schools facing lawsuits that contend their policies aimed at preventing such attacks may be inadequate and a violation of Title IX, a 1972 U.S. law that prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds.

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)