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Former Ashland University student says she was sexually assaulted. But the school’s student-conduct director did nothing.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Federal-court complaint alleges that Ashland University failed to respond properly under Title IX to then-student's sexual-assault report.

ASHLAND, OHIO – Yesterday, former Ashland University student Jane Doe filed a federal civil lawsuit [UPDATE: amended 9/12/18] against Ashland University under Title IX, the federal law prohibiting educational institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating based on gender. Because the case involves the victim of an alleged sexual-assault, it is filed under a pseudonym.

Doe’s complaint alleges that after a fellow student sexually assaulted her in April 2016, she reported the incident to her mentor and supervisor, Jonathan Locust, the director of Student Conduct and Diversity—also at the time designated deputy Title IX coordinator. According to the complaint, rather than responding in accordance with the University’s sexual-violence policy, Locust told her that alcohol was a “truth serum,” and that if she had been drinking, she must have wanted the sexual activity. Locust allegedly never reported the assault to the University’s Title IX coordinator.

The complaint alleges that, a few months after the first assault, Doe was again sexually assaulted by the same perpetrator, and that she was endured retaliation after reporting the second assault.

Sandhya Gupta, one of Ms. Doe's counsel, said, “Someone in Locust’s position—a director of student conduct—should have known better than to treat this student as if what happened to her was normal. And he should have taken the basic step of reporting the incident to the Title IX coordinator. The University failed to meet its obligations under federal law, tacitly endorsing the male perpetrator’s alleged misconduct and making all female students more vulnerable to sexual assault.”

The suit, captioned Doe v. Ashland University, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Case No. 18-CV-816, and has been assigned to Judge Dan Aaron Polster. The [amended] complaint [as of 9/12/18] is available here.

Subodh Chandra, Sandhya Gupta, and Donald Screen of the Chandra Law Firm LLC, www.ChandraLaw.com, represent Doe.

Related Practice Areas
Government ethics, misconduct, fraud, & abuseTitle IX
Tags
jane-doeashland-universitytitle-ix-retaliationtitle-ixjonathan-locust

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