Gonzaga sued over alleged delayed rape investigation

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by John Langeler and KREM.com

KREM.com

Posted on September 8, 2010 at 10:23 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 9 at 8:27 AM

SPOKANE, Wash. - A former Gonzaga University student is suing the school in federal court, saying she was raped three years ago by another student, but when she went to Gonzaga administrators for action, she said they stood in her way.

The lawsuit focuses on an alleged on-campus sexual assault from 2007.

It also claims there is a broader pattern of discrimination at the university against sexual assault and harassment victims.  The university denied the pattern.

The woman is identified as Jane Doe in the lawsuit.

Her lawyer, Janet Chung, said Jane was a sophomore at Gonzaga when she was raped in September 2007.  Jane attended the school from 2005-2008 and now lives in Alaska.

Chung said when her client filed a report with Gonzaga officials, nothing happened.

"There were a series of roadblocks put in her way as she tried to seek justice," said Chung.  "She did not go to police initially.  She went to the people on campus, the sexual assault team."

According to Chung, Gonzaga delayed repeatedly and discriminated against her.  Chung said the disciplinary process was delayed for months.

"Eventually, she did seek protection from a court,” said Chung.  “When she did that, the school intervened again and helped the suspect get counsel."

Jane said the treatment she received forced her to leave Gonzaga.

The alleged victim is seeking monetary damages and changes in policy at Gonzaga.

This is not the first time Gonzaga has been criticized for its sexual harassment response policies.

In 2005, a former university security guard filed a similar suit.  She was eventually fired.  That case was settled out of court.

Gonzaga released a statement this week in regarding the Jane Doe case, saying in part, "Gonzaga University does not comment on pending litigation.  Our commitment to fair and compassionate treatment of parties involved in sexual misconduct allegations is steadfast."
 

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