Survivors of sexual assault on college campuses can seek justice through civil lawsuits. They can take legal action against their abusers, as well as the institutions that enabled and protected their abusers. Investigative reports of sexual assaults on college campuses have proliferated over the years, and the University of Washington has faced its share of lawsuits for the role it played in various sexual assaults on its campus.
Survivors of sexual assault at the University of Washington have the right to hire a Seattle sexual assault lawyer to help them seek both justice and compensation. A settlement or verdict can go a long way in helping a survivor access the therapy they need to recover, as well as address missed opportunities in their careers.
Federal Laws That Apply in University of Washington Sexual Assault Lawsuits
Schools and universities that receive federal assistance from the U.S. Department of Education must comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law prohibits any form of discrimination based on sex or gender, and it applies in cases involving sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence.
Title IX intends to help students stay safe on campus, and it requires universities to take measures to ensure their students’ safety from sexual violence. The Department’s Office of Civil Rights conducts investigations and enforces Title IX on college campuses.
When university officials receive reports of sexual assault, there are certain procedures they have to follow. For example, students must be able to consult a TitleIX coordinator to report the abuse, and the university must promptly investigate all complaints and issue disciplinary action accordingly. Universities must also provide resources for survivors of sexual assault or harassment.
When a university fails to comply with Title IX, it risks losing its funding and opens itself up to lawsuits.
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Previous University of Washington Sexual Assault Lawsuits
In 2004, two former University of Washington students sued a student-athlete for rape. The Seattle Times reports that the student-athlete settled for an undisclosed sum. The plaintiffs also sued the University of Washington for stifling the allegations, but the case was dismissed in 2005. Later, in 2008, the appeals court reopened the case upon finding evidence that the university discouraged one of the plaintiffs from going to the police and forced a face-to-face mediation between the student and her abuser.
Title IX prohibits universities from using mediation instead of formal hearings in sexual assault cases.
Recent Reports of Sexual Assault at the University of Washington
More recently, the University of Washington’s faculty and staff have been implicated in sexual assaults on campus. According to The Daily, a university investigation found that a tenured professor, John Sahr, engaged in inappropriate conduct with two students, including a 17-year-old university student, from 2008 to 2010 while he served as an interim director at the Robinson Center. His tenure was revoked, and he was terminated.
The Seattle Times also reported that the university investigated allegations against Roy Shick, a Senior Associate Athletic Director, in 2018. After they found the allegations to be true, Shick resigned and paid a settlement to the survivor to pay for their therapy as long as the survivor agreed to waive any claims against the school.
Sexual Assault Statistics for the University of Washington
According to a Seattle Times analysis, six of Washington State’s public universities investigated at least 492 reports of sexual misconduct by students over a five-year period the results newspaper reported that of a total of 492 reports of sexual misconduct on all six campuses, The University of Washington investigated 75 reports, leading to only eight expulsions and 13 suspensions.
That same analysis reported that according to a 2020 survey answered by 7,500 students and 5,300 staff:
- Approximately 15 percent experienced “unwanted sexual contact or harassment”
- One percent said they were raped
- Of that one percent, 1 in 11 made an official report. Most said they felt their report wasn’t handled well
A Lawyer Can Help You File a Lawsuit Against the University of Washington
If you suffered sexual abuse by another student, a professor, or another employee of the University of Washington, you can file a lawsuit, and you don’t have to take on the legal process alone. You have the right to hire a lawyer who can lead your case.
A lawyer can help by:
- Investigating and determining the liable parties
- Assessing your losses
- File your lawsuit
- Negotiating a settlement
- Communicating with the liable parties and their representatives
- Representing you in a trial
Facing a perpetrator and the institution that enabled them in a legal setting is never easy for survivors of sexual assault. Still, they deserve justice and compensation that can help them cope with their trauma. A lawyer can act as an advocate and support system throughout the legal process.
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Potential Compensation in a Sexual Assault Lawsuit
The journey to recovery for survivors of sexual assault is challenging, and they can suffer financial losses as well as lasting emotional trauma. A settlement or verdict can help them cope with career setbacks, medical bills, and other losses.
For example, a lawyer can seek financial recovery for:
- Medical expenses for any physical injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Loss of quality of life
Call Van Law for Help Filing a University of Washington Sexual Assault Lawsuit
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, Van Law can help you hold the liable parties accountable, including the University of Washington. You have a limited time to hold your abuser liable and seek justice. Our team will help you determine what time limits apply and manage these deadlines.
Call us today for a free initial consultation. We want to listen to your story and explain how our personal injury lawyers can help.
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