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University of Idaho settles lawsuit from sex assault victim

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 25, 2019

By Rebecca Boone Associated Press

BOISE – The University of Idaho has reached a settlement in a lawsuit brought by a woman who said school officials told her to transfer to another campus if she didn’t want to continue attending classes with a student who sexually assaulted her.

The woman was a graduate student at the UI’s College of Law when she reported that she’d been sexually assaulted by a fellow law student while off campus on Feb. 11, 2016. In her lawsuit, filed in 2017, the woman said that she filed a formal complaint and after an investigation the university concluded that a sexual assault occurred. But she said while the investigation process was moving forward – and even after the university reached its conclusions – she received no real accommodations.

Instead, she said, school officials told her to sit in the back of the classroom if she didn’t want to face her attacker in class, to listen to audio recordings of the lectures at home or to move to another city to take classes there.

U.S. District Judge David Nye dismissed the case Thursday after attorneys on both sides told the court they’d reached a settlement to end the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement were not included in the court documents.

University spokeswoman Jodi Walker declined to comment on the case. The woman’s attorney, Brook Cunningham, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Associated Press.

The University of Idaho has faced scrutiny in recent years for mishandling sexual assault complaints. Last year the school’s former athletic director Rob Spear was fired following an investigation into how school officials responded to several sexual assault and harassment claims made in 2013. In 2014, the university was among 55 colleges and universities under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights for possible violations in the way it handled sexual violence and harassment complaints.

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