U-San Diego Blasted on Rape Report

           SAN DIEGO (CN) – The University of San Diego refused to call police after a student was raped in her dorm room and punished her after she reported it, she claims in court.
     Jane Doe sued John Roe and the University of San Diego on Sept. 10 in Federal Court.
     Campus police didn’t even hold the alleged rapist for questioning, Doe’s attorney said.
     “This case is particularly egregious because the girl was raped on campus, and then campus cops confront the rapist and tell him to leave,” without questioning, attorney Daniel Gilleon told Courthouse News.
     Doe sued first in state court, but dismissed it and refiled in Federal Court to make a claim under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions.
     She claims the man raped her on Feb. 9, 2014 in her dorm room on the USD campus. “The rape included forced vaginal penetration and forced oral copulation. The multiple acts of rape were accomplished through physical force, violence (e.g., choking), threats of violence, intimidation, coercion and imprisonment,” the complaint states. (Parentheses in complaint.)
     Doe says she escaped and called a friend, who took her to the USD public safety department.
     “The public safety officer, an employee of USD, asked Doe if she felt safe enough to return to her room, or if she wanted an ambulance. Doe responded that she did not feel safe because Roe was in her room when she fled, and that she wanted an ambulance. The public safety officer asked Doe if she wanted to contact the San Diego Police Department (‘SDPD’), but simultaneously recommended that Doe not contact SDPD because it would interfere with public safety’s investigation,” the complaint states.
     Doe says that advice contradicts an agreement between the university and San Diego Police Department, under which police handle violent crimes on campus, with help from the university if requested.
     Doe says: “Despite the public safety officer’s recommendations not to contact SDPD, Doe insisted that she wanted SDPD notified anyway. Although the public safety officer acknowledged her instructions to notify SDPD, he did not take any action to do so while in her presence, nor does Doe know if the public safety officer ever reported the rape to SDPD. After her arrival at the hospital, an officer from SDPD arrived, however, Doe does not know if the hospital or paramedics reported the rape to SDPD.”
     She claims that USD public safety officers went to her dorm room and found Roe still there, “and he was naked. The public safety officers informed Roe that Doe had accused him of rape, but when he claimed the sex was consensual, they told him to put his clothes on and leave.”
     She claims “that the public safety officers made the above contact with Roe for the purpose of interfering with SDPD’s investigation.”
     Adding insult to injury, Doe says, USD assistant dean Dayanne Izmirian told her at a hearing that the university would not protect her if police investigated the rape, that she had to rely on the university to conduct its own investigation, and that Izmirian “heightened Doe’s distress by presenting her with a threatening ‘no contact’ letter … that threatened Doe with ‘sanctions’ if she contacted Roe or spoke to her friends about the rape.”
     Izmirian is not a party to the complaint.
     Doe claims the school punished her in many ways for reporting the attack: by waiting two weeks to assign her a new dorm room; refusing to give her a parking pass so she would not have to walk alone at night; discouraging her from having a public safety officer escort her to classes despite knowing that Roe was stalking her; and refusing to let her get her mail, because Roe worked in the mail room.
     She says the university’s “contempt for (her) well-being” forced her to drop out in March 2014 on the advice of a USD psychologist and move to the East Coast to continue her education.
     There, she received an email from USD, telling her a hearing on the rape was scheduled for the end of May. Though she asked them to postpone it so she could attend, they refused, and in early June told her that her claim was unfounded, according to the complaint.
     Doe says the rape and the university’s mishandling of the crime cost her not only emotional distress and medical expenses, it “deprived her of the right of equal access to educational benefits and opportunities.”
     “They lost a very talented and wonderful student, a tennis player, just a wonderful asset to USD, simply because of the way they handled the rape investigation and the way they treated her,” Gilleon said.
     The attorney said the university and diocese do not have a good record on dealing with sexual assaults. “Historically, they are antagonistic to people speaking out about sexual assault,” he said.
     Gilleon said campus police routinely refuse to go to city police to investigate crimes.
     University spokeswoman Sandra Gray Payton said: “The university does not agree with the allegations made against it and will respond through the legal process. Consistent with the requirements of federal student privacy law, we do not share specific information with the media about student situations like this one.”
     Doe seeks punitive damages for sex discrimination, deliberate indifference, rape, hate violence, civil rights violations and gender violence.
     Established in 1949, the University of San Diego is a private Roman Catholic university in Alcala Park, overlooking Mission Bay. It offers more than 60 graduate and postgraduate degrees in several areas, including law, engineering, nursing and business administration.

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