A new lawsuit filed on behalf of a Stanford University graduate student accuses the university of ignoring multiple sexual assault allegations against one male student between 2011 and 2014. The lawsuit describes him as a “known sexual predator on campus.”
The Guardian reports that the lawsuit, filed by advocacy organization Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco non-profit that’s dedicated to ensuring women’s rights, alleges that the male student sexually assaulted multiple women during his time on campus. Jane Doe, the anonymous woman who filed the suit, alleges that the perpetrator, named as Mr. X, sexually assaulted her and three other students.
The complaint alleges that an unnamed male student strangled one victim and told her “no one will notice when you die” before raping her and that he repeatedly told another woman to “kill herself” after sexually assaulting her.
The lawsuit also alleges that the university was remiss in its responsibility to discipline the student, thus denying equal “educational opportunities” to the victim and violating Title IX. According to the lawsuit, Stanford actively discouraged women from filing formal complaints, even asking one of the alleged victims what she was wearing. Another victim alleges that an academic advisor told her to “take individual steps to deal with her rape and improve her mental health, such as renting a car and going to a beach.”
Palo Alto Weekly reports that Standford has been aware of Mr. X since 2012 when an unidentified woman reported that he choked and raped her in her dorm room in 2011. After that, Stanford received two more complaints about the same man and another victim came forward later but never officially reported her alleged assault.
Two of the victims, including Doe, have already filed federal complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Their cases are currently being investigated. The civil lawsuit asks for damages to be determined by a trial jury.
In a statement, Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin said that she has “sympathy” for Doe but added that “will be vigorously defending the lawsuit as we believe that Stanford has acted appropriately in this matter.”