PORTLAND, Ore. (CN) - A student sued Pacific College, claiming a football player raped her after a school basketball coach hosted "a drinking party at his home," where she and other underage women were encouraged to drink until they were "essentially incapacitated."
F.L. sued Pacific University on Nov. 16 in Multnomah County Court, demanding $3 million for negligent injury. Pacific is a small private college in Forest Grove, Ore., about an hour outside of Portland. The college itself is the only defendant.
F.L. says she was an 18-year-old freshman living in a school dorm in 2013. On Nov. 17 that year, Dustin Bowser, an assistant basketball coach and former star player for the Pacific University Boxers, "had a drinking party at his home which was attended by many student athletes, including plaintiff, who were under the age [at] which they could legally consume alcohol, and such young women were allowed or encouraged to consume alcohol to the point where they were essentially incapacitated," the complaint states.
F.L. says police raided the party at 11:30 that night, and a Pacific football player helped her drunkenly flee from the police. Then the football player raped and battered her, she says.
"She took pictures of the bruises on her breasts and thighs," the student's attorney Greg Kafoury said. "This was a big, strong football guy. It was a forcible rape, not a case of morning regrets."
Kafoury said the trauma ended the student's college career, at least for now.
She left school one month later. She tried to return the next year, Kafoury said, but anxiety and panic attacks made it too difficult to function under the pressure of college.
Kafoury said the school botched its investigation and has a history of not taking allegations of sexual assault seriously.
"The school did an investigation that turned up evidence of a number of other rapes reportedly by this guy under similar circumstances, but they didn't really follow up on it," Kafoury said.
"The school had reports that this guy raped four to seven other women, but they never got the names of them," Kafoury said. "It was just sort of something everybody knew, but they never hunted down the facts.
"Secondly, they had a pretext phone call and some emails in which the guy admitted what he had done."
The investigation concluded with a recommendation to suspend the football player for one year, Kafoury said.
"My client said, 'If you don't expel him, I'll go to the press.' And they finally did expel him, but only after she made that threat," Kafoury said.
"This place has a history of giving guys a slap on the wrist for sexual assaults," Kafoury said. "And we're going to prove that."
F.L. seeks $3 million plus punitive damages.
Joe Lang, media relations director for Pacific University, said in an email that the school had acted responsibly.
"We believe the university acted legally and appropriately and the facts will show this to be the case," Lang wrote. "Although the university is not able to share confidential information about students because of applicable privacy laws, the university has resources available to support survivors of sexual misconduct and policies and procedures to review and take appropriate action when issues are brought to our attention."
Lang disputed the student's claim that its failure to prevent Bowser's party "gave the apparent imprimatur of official sanction by the university."
"The university does not support or authorize any of its employees to provide alcohol to minors or host events where alcohol is provided to minors, as was alleged in the lawsuit," Lang wrote.Follow @@karinapdx
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