Judge advances ex-Arkansas student’s dorm room rape lawsuit

A federal judge has ruled a former University of Arkansas student can move ahead with a lawsuit alleging school officials acted with "deliberate indifference" after she reported being sexually assaulted by another student in her dorm room

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- A federal judge ruled a former University of Arkansas student can move ahead with a lawsuit alleging school officials acted with "deliberate indifference" after she reported being sexually assaulted by another student in her dorm room.

U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III’s ruling on Monday came after the university’s attorneys filed a motion seeking summary judgment in favor of the university.

The woman describes the October 2014 attack in a Title IX lawsuit she filed in 2016. The student she accused of the assault was expelled from school but is not facing any criminal charges, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools receiving federal funding. The U.S. Department of Education expects schools to investigate student complaints of sexual misconduct.

Holmes dismissed several claims, including "pre-assault" allegations that the university should have done more to keep the alleged assailant from campus given his history. He had previously been arrested and suspended.

The plaintiff’s attorney, George Rozzell, declined to comment.

University spokesman Mark Rushing said the facts will show that the university promptly assisted the plaintiff, addressed the alleged misconduct and expelled the other student.

But Holmes found that the university didn’t effectively communicate with the plaintiff after she reported the assault. He said officials weren’t clear about when her alleged attacker would be kicked out of school and, after he appealed his penalty, they ultimately “delayed his expulsion date until after he graduated.”

A jury trial in the case is scheduled for March.

———

Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com