Feb 10, 2016 11:35 AM EST
6 Sexual Assault Complainants Sue UT for Treating Them Unfairly
A group of six women filed a lawsuit against the University of Tennessee for fostering a sexually biased and dangerous environment in its athletics department.
According to The Tennessean, the lawsuit accuses UT of going easy on student-athletes accused of sexual assault and other crimes. The complainants, each of who only go by "Jane Doe," also accuse UT of using an adjudication process meant to favor student-athletes.
The Jane Does accused four former UT student-athletes - basketball player Yemi Makanjuola and football players A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams, and Riyahd Jones - and one current football player dubbed "John Doe" of sexually assaulting them. Another alleged assailant named in the lawsuit, also a "John Doe," was not a student-athlete and was accused of assaulting the woman at a football team party.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reported current UT football players even assaulted wide receiver Drae Bowles for offering some kind of unspecified help to the woman who accused Johnson and Williams of raping her in Nov. 2014. The latter two were dismissed from the team shortly thereafter.
The school came under two federal investigations from the U.S. Education Department for these alleged violations of the Title IX law.
The lawsuit named UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek, athletic director Dave Hart, and football coach Butch Jones as those responsible for fostering the "sexually hostile environment," the newspaper noted.
"In the situations identified in the lawsuit filed today, the University acted lawfully and in good faith, and we expect a court to agree. Any assertion that we do not take sexual assault seriously enough is simply not true," Bill Ramsey, Counsel for the University of Tennessee, said in a statement. "To claim that we have allowed a culture to exist contrary to our institutional commitment to providing a safe environment for our students or that we do not support those who report sexual assault is just false. The University will provide a detailed response to the lawsuit and looks forward to doing so at the appropriate time, and in the proper manner."
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