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Woman Says Northwestern Won't Protect Her

•  Recent Cases     updated  2008/08/13 08:50


A student claims that after she was raped by a fellow student, Northwestern University violated its own rules and delayed taking action against her rapist, subjecting her to further, distressing contact with him.

Plaintiff Sarah Poe sued Northwestern under an assumed name. She says she was raped in 2007 and pressed charges against the man, "resulting in Northwestern hearing board findings and sanctions against the rapist, which the rapist appealed. Then, however, Northwestern's administration first unjustifiably delayed proceedings, contrary to the provisions in Northwestern's Student Handbook and other written agreements between Northwestern and Plaintiff. When, after a delay of over five months, a Northwestern appeals board denied the rapist's appeal and the rapist sought another review, Northwestern's president, or his designee, refused to complete the limited review within the reasonable time allowed by the Student Handbook and to provide a decision in writing as Northwestern promised Plaintiff. Instead, Northwestern's president or his designee took no action at all, intending that the entire proceeding should permanently remain pending and unresolved, and that the effectiveness of the findings and sanctions against the rapist would be permanently stayed, thereby effectively denying Plaintiff any resolution of the charge and any assurance that Northwestern would keep the rapist away from her as the hearing board ordered. Plaintiff brings this action to compel Northwestern to complete the disciplinary procedures against the rapist as specified in the Student Handbook by issuing a written decision on the so-called presidential review and thereby to end the prolonged anxiety and uncertainty to which Plaintiff has been subjected by Northwestern's violations of its own contractually promised procedures."

The plaintiff is represented in Cook County Chancery Court by Damon Dunn.



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