Ju Ju Bee (julieannie) wrote in ontd_political,
Ju Ju Bee

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Happy rape!

University of the Pacific said this week in its response to a lawsuit filed in March that it was neither hostile nor indifferent to a women's basketball player who claimed three men's basketball players raped her at a party and that the school mistreated her for saying so.

In a filing Tuesday in federal court in Sacramento, the school said that before filing the lawsuit, the woman and her parents had praised the school's handling of the matter.

The woman's Denver lawyer, John Clune, said Thursday that his client's relationship with the school deteriorated only after administrators declined to dismiss and permanently ban from campus all the men his client said assaulted her.

A woman identified in court papers as Jane Doe claimed in a March lawsuit that two basketball players raped her at a May 2008 party at Townhouses, campus housing on Pershing Avenue, and that a third player came into the room where she was and assaulted her as the first two players were leaving.

Pacific spokesman Richard Rojo said Thursday that the school does not consider the incident to be a rape.

"We would call it date rape," he said.

Rojo said the university considers "outright rape" and date rape to be different, in that date rape does not involve "a rapist jumping out of bushes and attacking people randomly."

He said, "These are people who knew each other. ... It's a social situation and unfortunately an all-too common problem at universities.

"It doesn't make it right. It's a sexual assault, and that's why the university took action in this matter."

Doe said in her lawsuit that Pacific's handling of the matter was hostile, causing her to feel unwanted at Pacific. Doe, a freshman, left the school.

The woman told a police detective she did not wish to file a criminal complaint, a Stockton Police Department spokesman said last year.

The university expelled point guard Steffan Johnson. It suspended point guard Michael Kirby for one semester and center Michael Nunnally for one year.

As of March, two of the three students were barred from campus, one permanently, the university has said.

Nunnally has said he did not rape Doe. Kirby declined to comment. Johnson has not responded to requests for comment.

In its filing, Pacific said it tried after the incident to speak with Doe in a telephone call to her home in Colorado but that her parents would not allow it. In that call, the university offered victim resources, recommended Doe schedule a physical examination and rape kit, and urged her parents to report the incident to police, the university said.

Clune said rape victims often do not initially want to talk to police or anyone else about an assault, and that Doe's reaction is consistent with that of other women.

The university's Judicial Hearing Board heard from witnesses June 16, including from men's and women's basketball players who said Doe was flirting with at least two of the men she said assaulted her, the university claimed.

One women's basketball player said Doe was engaging in "a lot of 'sleazy behavior,'" the university said in its filing. That student said Doe also "made comments such as, 'Who is going to get laid tonight?'" Pacific claimed, and two witnesses said they saw Doe hug one of the accused men after the incident.

Testimony from the accused men included testimony that Doe willingly went upstairs with two of them and willingly engaged in sexual conduct with at least two of them, the university claimed.

Clune said the response engaged in "victim-blaming."

In her lawsuit, Doe accused Pacific Vice President of Student Life Elizabeth Griego of blaming Doe for the assault and saying the three men "are very popular and do not need to force anyone to have sex with them."

In its filing, the university said Griego told Doe that "given the testimony of all witnesses questioned (which plaintiff had refused to listen to) there might be 'competing truths,'" and that it appeared from testimony that two of the men believed they had the woman's consent.

In an e-mail to the university last May, Doe's parents wrote, "Your support of (plaintiff) has been deeply moving," Pacific claimed. And in a June letter, Doe wrote, "The school has been very kind and compassionate to me," it claimed.

Clune said, "It's only after the university decided that they were not going to remove the three individuals that things turned sour."

In July, Griego and another official met with Doe and her mother to discuss the student sanctions, the university said. At that meeting, "Plaintiff's mother became irate, screaming so loudly that she could be heard outside Dr. Griego's closed door," the school claimed. Griego asked her to leave, the filing said.

The university denied Doe's claim that there had been an increasing number of reports of sexual offenses on campus, in particular her claim that at least seven reports were made in the 2007-08 academic year.

There were six reports made that year and two in 2008-09, Rojo said.


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