Lawsuit accuses Stanford of mishandling sex assault reports

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2016 5:56 PM

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Stanford University graduate student claimed in a federal lawsuit that the school failed to adequately investigate and discipline a former student who was a "known sexual predator" while attending the college and sexually assaulted her and other female students between 2011 and 2014.

The woman who sued was identified in court documents filed Monday only as "Ms. Doe" and said she was assaulted in 2014 by the student identified as "Mr. X" when she refused his demands to perform sexual acts.

The lawsuit said her allegations against the male student were confirmed by a university investigation later that year. The woman is seeking a jury trial and unspecified monetary damages.

Stanford was already being investigated by federal authorities for its handling of sexual assault cases before the lawsuit was filed.

The alleged assaults listed in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco happened before Stanford swimmer Brock Turner attacked an unconscious woman near a trash bin in January 2015.

Turner's high-profile case drew widespread condemnation after a judge sentenced him to six months in prison, prompting California to approve two laws requiring longer sentences for sexual assaults of unconscious victims.

In another alleged assault detailed in the lawsuit, the man identified as Mr. X is accused of entering the dormitory room of an undergraduate student, choking her until she was unconscious and raping her.

Stanford between 2011 and 2014 received multiple reports about sexual assaults by the male student but "Stanford effectively ignored those reports," the lawsuit said. The male student has since graduated from Stanford, the lawsuit said.

Stanford in a statement declined to comment on the details in the lawsuit, citing laws that protect student privacy, but said the university will defend itself and file a response in court soon.

Stanford also suggested its ability to respond to allegations about the male student was limited because one or more alleged victims did not cooperate with university investigators.

"Without the cooperation of victims, regrettably the university is very limited in what it can do," the statement said. "Nonetheless, we provide support to sexual assault survivors and will investigate and adjudicate cases if survivors later change their mind."

Turner served half of his sentence and moved back to his home state of Ohio in September, where he registered as a sex offender.

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Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com