A former standout lacrosse participant has sued Westminster College, announcing it positioned extra worth at the privateness of a male pupil who had sexually assaulted her than on her protection.
According to the lawsuit, the college violated a restraining order and federal Title IX laws by means of housing Kennedy Flavin inside 100 ft of the person who’d sexually assaulted her in highschool, once they had been each minors. The college then refused to transport his dorm or make different preparations to offer protection to Flavin.
Title IX fees universities with making sure scholars obtain schooling with out sex-based discrimination.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Utah, additionally accuses the varsity of discriminating towards Flavin for being deaf.
Westminster created an atmosphere “so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive,” that Flavin, 18, was once pressured to go away her college of selection and the game she loves, the lawsuit states.
School spokeswoman Arikka Von declined to remark, announcing the varsity had now not but been served with the swimsuit.
Flavin was once in highschool when her then-boyfriend raped her, in step with the lawsuit. In juvenile court docket, he admitted guilt to sexual battery and illegal sexual habits with a minor. He was once given probation and ordered to haven’t any touch with Flavin, the lawsuit says.
In 2017, Flavin graduated from highschool and won a $19,000-per-year scholarship to wait Westminster and play lacrosse.
It was once a nice have compatibility, the lawsuit says, since the college’s small categories accommodate her deafness. Westminster additionally has the one Division II ladies’s lacrosse crew in the state, and her former highschool trainer had turn into an assistant trainer there.
The two had enjoy navigating Flavin’s deafness to lend a hand her excel at the box. In highschool, she’d made an all-state crew and an all-regional crew, in addition to a make a choice crew composed of most effective 23 Utah gamers.
But Flavin’s college enjoy was once derailed when she realized that her ex-boyfriend made up our minds to forego enlisting in the Marines and as a substitute attend Westminster.
Flavin panicked as she discovered the juvenile-court stalking order had expired, in step with the lawsuit, and instantly filed for a stalking injunction, which was once authorized.
It said the person needed to keep 100 ft clear of Flavin and withdraw from any categories the 2 had been each enrolled in.
But the varsity assigned the person to a dormitory just about inside an “arm’s length” of Flavin’s construction, the lawsuit says.
And because of the best way the structures are located, in step with the lawsuit, he may “quite literally look into his victim’s window.”
Flavin complained to the varsity, which replied that the space from the ex-boyfriend’s construction’s door, out to the sidewalk, across the nook and as much as the door of Flavin’s construction is greater than 100 ft, and subsequently in line with the order, in step with the lawsuit.
Flavin’s lawyer, Dale Boam, mentioned the varsity’s clarification is comparable to a kid maintaining a finger inside a centimeter of any individual else’s face whilst repeating “I’m not touching you.”
According to the lawsuit, the varsity mentioned it was once involved that transferring the person to any other dorm would violate his privateness and probably out him as a intercourse abuser.
“It’s an unreasonable response,” Boam mentioned. “They are spending more time worrying about protecting his identity than to the danger to Kennedy.”
Then the person joined the varsity’s males’s lacrosse crew, which intended he would use the similar athletic amenities as Flavin.
Westminster scheduled them to have their athletic physicals on the similar time. When Flavin complained, the lawsuit says, her bodily was once rescheduled to happen with the ladies’s basketball crew, whilst the male pupil “was allowed to stay with his teammates.”
Westminster assigned them to the similar beginners orientation, the lawsuit says. At the top of the consultation, Flavin discovered her attacker were sitting at the back of her.
As the varsity yr commenced, the 2 persisted to have run-ins, heightening Flavin’s anxiousness. Campus safety doesn’t have a solution to keep up a correspondence with deaf other folks, in step with the lawsuit, so she felt unprotected.
The college advised her to name Salt Lake City police if one thing befell, in step with the lawsuit. But that may be an overblown reaction, Boam mentioned — or it might take longer for police to reach from off campus.
Flavin stopped snoozing in her dorm room. She in the end left Westminster and enrolled in any other college.
Losing her scholarship intended that her father needed to promote his space to pay for her schooling, in step with the lawsuit.
Boam mentioned that he feels Westminster’s reaction was once influenced by means of the male pupil’s position at the lacrosse crew. According to the lawsuit, the college a number of instances referenced his significance to this system.
Boam mentioned the case falls in line with the #MeToo motion, combating towards people and establishments propping up males whilst oppressing ladies and sufferers of sexual attack.
And as a deaf girl, Flavin is extra prone to assault, Boam mentioned.
“To be deaf is to always be in danger of someone trying to take advantage of you under the belief that you can’t do anything about it, you can’t tell anybody,” he mentioned.
But if she felt protected, he mentioned, she would go back to Westminster in a heartbeat.
While the lawsuit doesn’t record an sum of money sought, Boam mentioned the foundation for the lawsuit is the scholarship price range Flavin misplaced when she left Westminster.
The lawsuit says Westminster violated Section 504, a federal regulation that protects towards discrimination, in addition to Title IX. All colleges that obtain federal investment will have to agree to Title IX or face attainable lack of price range.
In 2017, following a three-year federal investigation, Westminster was once cleared of allegations that it mishandled a sexual attack criticism and violated Title IX.
Reporter Paighten Harkins contributed to this tale.