Deliberations begin in Chadron State Title IX civil case
A federal jury of 2 men and 6 women began deliberations Wednesday in a civil suit accusing Chadron State College of failing to adequately respond when a female student from Africa was sexually assaulted by a male international student in Sept 2016.
Criminal charges were not filed against the man, but a CSC investigation showed he attacked her as she worked at her student job in his dormitory and that they had non-consensual sex as he ignored her repeated declarations of no.
Sanctions were issued against him, but the woman, referred to in the suit and during the trial as Jane Doe, sued – saying the actions failed to meet the level of response required under the Title IX law.
Opening arguments were heard last Tuesday, Nov 30, followed by 5 days of testimony with Doe herself the final witness. Nebraska Public Media reports she told of being raped as a teenager by 2 of her male cousins and once by the international student shortly after her arrival at CSC,
Doe said she didn’t report that attack to college officials or authorities, but did report his second attack about 6 months later. She said when she later learned he was allowed to remain on campus, she felt her concerns had not been taken seriously – describing it as a “betrayal on betrayal.”
The sanctions against the man included a no-contact order requiring him to leave if he ever found himself in the same location as Doe, and under cross-examination she admitted did not encounter him after that.
In closing arguments Wednesday morning, attorneys Maren Chaloupka representing Doe and George Martin representing the college, both focused on “deliberate indifference” – whether Chadron State failed to act on behalf of a student facing sexual harassment.
Nebraska Public Media says Martin told the jurors the evidence shows the school took immediate action that made sure the harassment stopped and that any missteps and miscommunication the school may have made wasn’t by law “deliberate indifference.”
Chaloupka argued that a “slipshod” investigation and ineffective actions did amount to deliberate indifference with Chadron State “giving sexual predators free reign on campus.”
She said that at its most basic, the case boiled down to Jane Doe not being heard or listened to in the wake of being sexually assaulted twice by the same fellow student.