Two new plaintiffs added to Tennessee Title IX lawsuit

Thursday February 25th, 2016

Two new plaintiffs have been added to the ongoing Title IX lawsuit against the University of Tennessee, bringing the total number of plaintiffs to eight, reports Matt Slovin of The Tennessean

The women added to the amended lawsuit, both identified as Jane Doe, claim that they were assaulted by football players. 

One of the women reported to the school and the Knox Country District Attorney’s office that she was sexually assaulted by senior wide receiver Von Pearson in April 2015, according to the lawsuit.

After the incident, Pearson was put on interim suspension, which was temporarily removed so he could take final exams and be eligible for the following football season.

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Pearson was found responsible by Tennessee for having unwanted sexual contact with the woman, but was reinstated by the school in August in time for the start of the football season. 

The district attorney declined to charge Pearson, citing insufficient evidence. 

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The second Jane Doe is accusing lineman Alexis Johnson of assault. Johnson is already facing aggravated assault and strangulation charges for an incident that occurred in his apartment. 

The Title IX lawsuit accuses the school of enabling sexual assaults by student athletes and using a legal process that is biased against victims.  

Tennessee responded to the new claims in the amended lawsuit through attorney Bill Ramsey. 

“The University has reviewed the amended complaint filed today by the plaintiffs and we continue to stand by our actions,” the statement reads. “The facts, as opposed to allegations in a complaint, will demonstrate that the University acted properly in the matters at issue.”

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