Judge rules University of Tennessee sexual assault cases to proceed
A sexual assault lawsuit against the University of Tennessee will proceed in court as a federal judge has denied the university’s motion to dismiss the case, according to The Tennesseean.
On Feb. 9, eight women came forward with lawsuits against Tennessee claiming the university created a “hostile sexual environment” by showing indifference toward assaults by student-athletes.
The school’s lawyers were hoping the cases would be dismissed as they believe there was not enough precedent for Tennessee to have Title IX liability for the alleged cases of student-on-student sexual harassment.
Only one motion was granted for a case to be dismissed as the statute of limitations expired for one plaintiff’s claims. The victim said there was a pattern and practice of deliberate indifference to sexual assaults and misconduct by UT athletes before she was sexually assaulted in 2013 by a former basketball player. The judge determined that she may still pursue legal action regarding the university’s handling of the case after she reported the alleged assault.
Seven other cases will continue as the judge looks into claims of deliberate indifference before sexual assaults took place. In the eight cases, the judge will also delve into the disciplinary process that took place after the sexual assaults and how the conduct was at times biased against victims.