Woman Faults USD for Tepid Response to Rape

           SAN DIEGO (CN) – A former University of San Diego student who was raped by another student in a campus dorm says in state court that the school did almost nothing to make her feel safe after the alleged attack.
     Jane Doe sued her alleged attacker, identified only as John Roe, and the University of San Diego in San Diego County Superior Court for claims stemming from an alleged rape that occurred in her dorm room in February 2014.
     Doe says in her complaint that the rape included “forced vaginal penetration and oral copulation” and was accomplished through “physical force, violence (e.g., choking), threats of violence, intimidation, coercion and imprisonment,” the complaint states. [Parentheses in complaint.]
     The woman says she eventually escaped and called a friend, who helped her meet with a USD public safety official.
     Although Doe requested to have police contacted, the USD official said that doing so would interfere with their “own investigation” and refused to call the San Diego Police Department – despite a memorandum of understanding between the city and USD designating SDPD as the primary investigating agency for all violent crimes, the complaint states.
     Instead, university officers located Roe – still naked and in Doe’s dorm room – and ordered him to leave. Doe says the officers made contact with Roe for the purpose of interfering with a possible SDPD investigation.
     Roe told campus officers that the sex was consensual, according to the complaint.
     Doe says that days after the attack she and her mother met with a university official, who also advised her not to contact SDPD. The official then presented Doe with a “no contact” letter that threatened her with sanctions if she contacted Roe or told her friends about the attack, the complaint states.
     The university compounded Doe’s fears by waiting nearly two weeks to move her to another dorm. Officials also refused to give her a parking pass so she wouldn’t have to walk long distances to her evening classes, and urged her not to pursue her requests for a night escort because it would draw “unwanted attention,” according to the complaint.
     Officials also barred Doe from picking up her mail because Roe worked in the campus mailroom. And they refused to investigate claims that Roe continued to stalk her despite his own no-contact order, Doe says in her complaint.
     After her mental state deteriorated and her grades plummeted, university officials finally referred Doe to a campus psychologist – who advised her to leave USD for her own safety, the complaint states. In March 2014, she left the university and moved to the East Coast to attend another school.
     “Doe had no contact with anyone from USD until May 23, 2014, when Doe was contacted by email about an administrative hearing that was scheduled for May 30, 2014. Doe asked
     USD if they could postpone the hearing to permit Doe to attend in person, but USD refused. As a result, Doe could only participate in a written statement. On June 3, 2014, Doe was notified by USD that she had not proven her claim against Roe,” the complaint states.
     Doe seeks damages for rape, hate violence, gender violence, civil rights, negligence, emotional distress and deliberate indifference by an educational institution.
     She is represented by Daniel Gilleon in San Diego.
     Pamela Gray Payton, USD assistant vice president for media and digital communications, told Courthouse News the school would not comment on the specifics of Doe’s story, citing student privacy.
     However, Payton said USD “does not agree with the allegations made against it in the Doe vs. Roe lawsuit filed in the Superior Court of California, County of San Diego on April 24, 2015 and will respond through the legal process. USD has not been served with the lawsuit nor has USD been contacted by the attorney about the case.”
     Payton added that the university “has been deeply committed and engaged in efforts that promote the well-being and safety of all of our students,” and that “any complainant always has the option to report the complaint directly to outside law enforcement.”

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