Judge dismisses ex-rowers' suit against University of Kansas

AP News
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Posted: Mar 22, 2017 5:40 PM

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A judge dismissed a lawsuit against the University of Kansas by parents of two former rowers who allege they were sexually assaulted by a Jayhawk football player in a campus dorm.

Douglas County District Judge B. Kay Hoff ruled, among other things, that the former rowers have left the university and no longer face an immediate threat of harm, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

The lawsuit initially filed in March 2016 by James and Amanda Tackett claimed that when recruiting their daughter to attend and row for Kansas, the school falsely advertised safe residence halls and violated the Kansas Consumer Protection Act. The suit claimed the university knew there had been sexual assaults in its dorms.

James McClure and daughter Sarah McClure later joined the lawsuit, with Sarah McClure alleging she was sexually assaulted in 2015 by the same football player who rowing teammate Daisy Tackett said had sexually assaulted her a year earlier.

An attorney for the families told The Kansas City Star on Tuesday that they will appeal Hoff's ruling.

The Associated Press generally doesn't identify victims of alleged sexual assault, but Tackett and McClure have said they want their names used.

No charges were filed against the player, but he was banned from campus in 2016.

The lawsuit had sought an injunction that would have barred the university from representing that its campus housing was safe, and it asked for the return of all tuition, housing and other money the university received in connection with their daughters' attendance.

But Hoff rejected that, ruling Friday that the students and not the parents signed the housing contract, and that the former students behind the lawsuit "fail to show within the petition a continuing injury or that they face a real and immediate threat of being injured in the future."

University administrators had called the lawsuit "baseless." Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a spokeswoman, said "the safety and well-being of our students is of the utmost importance."

The university still faces two related lawsuits from both former rowers, who claim the school violated Title IX when it failed to protect them and did not stop retaliation against them after the women reported they had been sexually assaulted.