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Published On: Thu, Oct 24th, 2013

Lawsuit: U Conn for not protecting students from rape, sexual assault, campus police tells woman to stop spreading their legs

Seven current and former female University of Connecticut students are claiming the university did little to protect them from rape and sexual assault while they attended classes or worked at the Storrs campus.

Twitter/@UConnHuskies

Twitter/@UConnHuskies

The women filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights alleging that their Title IX rights of equal protection under the law had been violated.

“The complaint sets forth details of rapes, sexual assaults and sexual batteries that have occurred at UConn and details the manner in which UConn failed to abide by the federal law,” said attorney Gloria Allred, who is nationally known for taking on sexual harassment and women’s rights cases.

“We are hopeful the university will be forced to comply with federal law and create a safe environment for students,” Allred said.

Back in April a student’s complaint prompted the school’s mascot being made into a “Rape Meme” – more on that story here

Kylie Angell, a May UConn graduate who grew up in Trumbull and is now a nurse at Norwalk Hospital, said at a news conference that after she was raped by a classmate in her dorm, a campus police officer told her that “women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep on happening till the cows come home.”

“I left feeling confused, violated, traumatized and vulnerable,” said Angell, who, along with three other women involved in the complaint, told reporters their names could be published.

She continued, explaining that the perpetrator who raped her in her dorm was later found guilty and expelled, but was back on campus following an appeal.

“The only explanation I was given was that the vice president of student affairs felt that expulsion for having raped me was `too severe,’ ” she said.

UConn officials said all cases of alleged rape or sexual assault are taken seriously by the university, which has a combined enrollment of more than 30,000 at its campuses.

“The health and well-being of our students is our top priority. Our response protocol for these and other alleged incidents of sexual assault is in line with or exceeds best practices,” said UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz. “We always must be mindful of the rights of the accused and the accuser while upholding our commitment to protecting the safety of our campus community.”

Gov. Dannel Malloy “is extremely concerned” about the complaint,” said Andrew Doba, a spokesman for the governor’s office.

“The public at large, and especially young people at our universities, need to be able to trust that authorities will act quickly and appropriately when called upon,” Doba said.

 

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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