Former Tennessee official warned school about sexual assaults
Former Tennessee vice chancellor Tim Rogers repeatedly warned the university about a high number of sexual assaults by male athletes, the updated lawsuit against Tennessee states, according to Matt Slovin of The Tennessean.
Rogers previously oversaw the office that investigated cases of student misconduct.
UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek “deliberately ignored these warnings” and allowed the university and athletic department to tolerate sexual assaults, the lawsuit says. “Cheek took no action and allowed female students to remain ‘vulnerable,’” it states.
The lawsuit filed alleges that the university violated Title IX regulations and also created a “hostile sexual environment” for its athletes. The lawsuit focuses on seven cases of sexual assault that took place between 2013 and 2015. Other cases that date back to 1995 are also cited.
The lawsuit also states that other athletes were usually drinking, using drugs and partying when assaults took place.
According to the latest filing, Cheek instructed Rogers to keep Jenny Wright, Tennessee’s director of student judicial affairs, from investigating sexual assault allegations against football player Marlin Lane. Lane was never arrested or prosecuted after the police investigation, and he never faced charges from the 18-year-old high school student that claimed she was raped.
Lane served a two-month suspension from the football team for disciplinary reasons in April 2013.
Wright noted there was a “pattern and practice of active interference by the Athletic Dept. that included ‘coaching witnesses to get their stories straight.’”
Wright and Rogers signed statements attached to Wednesday’s filing.
There are now eight plaintiffs in the case against Tennessee.
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.”