Sexual assault occurs on college and university campuses at alarming rates. While survivors can press criminal charges and file civil lawsuits against their perpetrators, they may also have cases against the university where the assault occurred. Universities have a duty to properly investigate allegations and take steps to prevent sexual misconduct on campuses. When they fail to do so, injured parties can sue them.
Sexual assault survivors have the right to hire a Washington sexual assault lawyer to help them seek justice. They can also fight for compensation that can help survivors access the resources and care they need to recover.
Recent Washington State University Sexual Assault Lawsuits and Investigations
In 2019, three Washington State University students at the Pullman campus filed a sexual assault lawsuit against another student, Thomas Culhane, along with the university itself, according to the Seattle Times. Culhane had been a transfer student from the university’s commuter campus in Vancouver.
During the transfer, which was allowed by the university, he was under investigation for the sexual assault of four students at the Vancouver campus. Culhane only got a week’s suspension for sexual misconduct, and he had to write an essay on consent.
After committing rape on the Pullman campus, Culhane was convicted of rape in the second degree and furnishing liquor to minors. Washington State University settled the lawsuit for $145,000 without admitting to wrongdoing. Sadly, some of the survivors in this case did not graduate.
Sexual Assault Allegations at Washington State University
The WSU Insider, the university’s newspaper, also reported about Washington State University’s failure to address sexual assault allegations against a university police sergeant in 2020. The police command staff investigated several allegations against WSU Police Sgt. Matt Kuhrt but failed to report its findings to university leaders or Human Resources.
Kuhrt resigned before he could face disciplinary action, similar to three previous members of the police command staff who resigned before facing the consequences for their mishandling of claims.
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Sexual Assault Statistics for Washington State University
The Seattle Times investigated reports of sexual misconduct and Title IX violations from September 2016 to mid-November 2021 across Washington State’s six public universities, finding a total of at least 492 reports.
In Washington State University, 68 cases were investigated, but only 31 resulted in expulsions, and 15 resulted in suspensions.
Lawmakers and the public are starting to ask how much responsibility lies with the university to keep students safe from sexual misconduct, as current data casts university leadership in this area in a bad light.
How Title IX Affects Sexual Assault Lawsuits Against Universities
Educational institutions that benefit from federal support through the U.S. Department of Education are obligated to adhere to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This legislation prohibits any discriminatory practices based on sex or gender.
The primary objective of this law is to ensure the safety of students on campus, compelling universities to implement measures that safeguard students from sexual violence.
In instances where university officials are informed about sexual assault, they must follow specified procedures. Non-compliance with Title IX by a university puts its funding at risk and exposes it to potential legal action.
Recoverable Compensation in a Washington State University Sexual Assault Lawsuit
Survivors of sexual assault often face a long road of recovery, and their trauma can take a toll on more than just their personal lives. They can suffer great losses in their careers and miss out on opportunities for advancement.
They deserve compensation that can help them access the care they need, such as psychological counseling. Damages in a sexual assault case can also include:
- Medical expenses for any physical injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
A lawyer can assess your losses and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.
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A Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Meet Your Case’s Filing Deadline
In Washington state, individuals who have experienced sexual abuse typically have a three-year window to initiate legal proceedings against a liable party. This time frame, as stipulated by RCW § 4.16.340, commences:
- From the date the abuse took place.
- From the date the survivor becomes aware or reasonably should have become aware that the abuse resulted in their injuries.
- From the survivor’s 18th birthday, if the abuse occurred during their childhood, affording them until the age of 21 to file a lawsuit.
A lawyer can assess your situation, identify applicable filing deadlines, and monitor these deadlines while engaging in negotiations on your behalf. The sooner you start your case, the better a lawyer can protect your right to take legal action against a liable party. If you miss this deadline, you risk seeing the court dismiss your case entirely.
Hiring a Washington State Sexual Assault Lawyer on Contingency
Some law firms take cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, you won’t be required to make any upfront payments or hourly fees to retain an attorney. Instead, the attorney’s compensation is contingent on a percentage of your potential legal outcome, whether through a settlement or a court verdict.
This contingency arrangement allows the law firm to promptly initiate work on your case, aiding in meeting filing deadlines. It also assures clients that their attorneys diligently work on their behalf, fully committed to the success of their cases.
Call Van Law for Help Filing a Washington State University Sexual Assault Lawsuit
You deserve to hold Washington State University accountable if it failed to properly handle your sexual assault claim. Van Law Firm is here to help you seek justice.
Call our legal team for a free consultation, and we can explain how our personal injury lawyers can help.
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