Settlement in Title IX Lawsuit Against UConn

By PAT EATON-ROBB,  Associated Press

STORRS, Conn. (AP) _ The University of Connecticut will pay nearly $1.3 million to settle a federal lawsuit filed by five women who claimed the school responded to their sexual assault complaints with indifference, the two sides announced Friday.

The bulk of the settlement, $900,000, will go to Silvana Moccia, a former UConn hockey player who joined the Title IX lawsuit last December, a month after it was originally filed by four other women. She alleged she was kicked off the team after reporting she had been raped by a male hockey player in August 2011.

The other four women will receive payments ranging from $25,000 to $125,000.

The school, which has repeatedly defended its policies for responding to sexual assault complaints, did not admit any wrongdoing.

“It was clear to all parties that no good would have come from dragging this out for years as it consumed the time, attention and resources _ both financial and emotional _ of everyone involved,” said Larry McHugh, the chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees. “In order to do this, compromise was required on both sides, which is reflected in the settlement. I hope this resolution will help the students find closure on this issue.”

Messages seeking comment were left for the women’s attorney, Gloria Allred, who planned hold a news conference with four of the women at 1 p.m. Friday.

The lawsuit alleged discrimination based on gender and retaliation in violation of Title IX, which guarantees equal educational opportunities to students at schools that receive federal funds. It sought unspecified monetary damages and changes in university policies.

The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights began a Title IX investigation in December based on complaints filed by four of the plaintiffs and three other women.  That investigation, which could include the loss of federal funds for the school, continues even though these four women also have withdrawn their complaint to the Education Department.

School officials said they would continue to cooperate with that investigation.

The two sides issued a joint statement, which includes an acknowledgment by the plaintiffs that “certain UConn employees provided compassionate care and assistance to them” while contending the response of the school as a whole, showed deliberate indifference.

One plaintiff, Kylie Angell, said she was told by a police officer that, “Women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep happening until the cows come home.”

Angell receives $115,000 in the settlement. Carolyn Luby will get $25,000; Rosemary Richi receives $60,000 and Erica Daniels receives $125,000. The Associated Press normally does not release the names of victims in sexual assault cases, but the women have decided to make their names public.

None of the men involved in the complaints ever faced criminal charges. The attacks allegedly occurred between 2010 and 2013, while the women were students at the school.

UConn officials have detailed numerous steps the school has taken to ensure women can report sexual assaults to police or schools and receive proper guidance and counseling, noting is was the first in the state to adopt a comprehensive sexual assault policy in 2012.

The school also said it has expelled 27 students since 2005 who have been the subject of sexual misconduct allegations, including 15 in the past five years. The school could not say how many complaints had been filed during that time.

“This lawsuit may have been settled, but the issue of sexual assault on college campuses has not been,” said school President Susan Herbst. “Our hearts go out to all victims of sexual violence. The University has taken many positive, important steps in the battle against sexual assault in recent years, which are described in the joint statement, but there is still more to be done.”

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

See earlier stories:

May 1

Feb. 3

Dec, 20

Dec. 9

Nov. 13

Oct. 24

Oct. 22

Oct. 21


  • What university sexual assault policies really say | Feminist Philosophers

    […] Intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent. An incapacitated person is incapable of giving consent.  A person is incapacitated if that person is in a physical or mental state such that he or she lacks the ability to make a knowing and deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  For the purposes of this policy, a person who is asleep or unconscious is incapacitated, without exception.  A person may also become incapacitated due to other factors, which may include the use of alcohol and/or drugs to such a degree that the person no longer has the ability to make a knowing or deliberate choice to engage in the sexual interaction.  When the question of whether the complainant was incapacitated is at issue, the perspective of a sober, reasonable person in the position of the respondent will be the basis for determining whether the respondent should have known that the complainant was incapacitated and thus incapable of giving consent. The quote from the University of Michigan is, again, not from their sexual assault policy. It is from a University of Michigan website which attempts to raise awareness about the complexity of domestic violence and abuse. That quote is from a discussion of the various, complicated ways in which an emotionally abusive person can cause harm. The University of Michigan’s sexual assault policy defines sexual assault as follows: Sexual Assault: Unwanted or unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, including hugging, kissing, fondling, oral sex, anal or vaginal intercourse, or other physical sexual activity that occurs without valid consent. They define consent as follows: Consent: Clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed in mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any point. Consent must be voluntarily given and may not be valid if a person is being subjected to actions or behaviors that elicit emotional or psychological pressure, intimidation, or fear. Consent to engage in one sexual activity, or past agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity, cannot be presumed to constitute consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage again in a sexual activity. Consent cannot be validly given by a person who is incapacitated. For purposes of this policy, the issue is whether the Respondent knew, or should have known, that the activity in question was not consensual. And they define incapacitated as follows: Consent: Lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. This may have a variety of causes, including, but not limited to, being asleep or unconscious, having consumed alcohol or taken drugs, or experiencing blackouts or flashbacks. From the actual wording of these sexual assault policies, there seems to be very limited evidence for Tooley’s Murphy’s claim that: Instead, most universities allow that, for example, alcohol consumption can sometimes be so extreme as to make consent impossible. They don’t define all tipsily-drunk sex as assault or rape. So, yes, having sex with a drunk person may count as rape – depends on whether they’re so drunk as to be incapacitated. Tooley Murphy also asserts that: But it isn’t clear what the evidence for this systematicity is – given that all that is provided is one (widely criticized even at the time) quote from 23 years ago. The protesters at Columbia University, for example, certainly don’t seem to be benefiting from this widespread bias in favor of accusers. Nor do these women at Berkeley. Nor did these women at UConn. […]

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