University of Toledo among several colleges accused in sex assault complaint
September 4, 2014 at 8:27 PM EST - Updated July 21 at 12:19 AM
(Toledo News Now)
The University of Toledo is now under fire over its handling of a sex assault case. The victim at the center of the case in question is speaking to WTOL Investigator Ashley James about her harrowing ordeal.
The Title IX and Clery Act complaints were filed Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Education, putting UT at risk of joining 70 other colleges nationwide undergoing federal gender discrimination probes.
Some of the alleged violations involving the University of Toledo include:
•Unequal opportunities for the alleged victims and alleged assailants to present.
•Students were not informed of rights under Title IX.
•Complaint process was not prompt.
•Complaint process was not equitable; alleged victims and alleged assailants treated unequitably, especially during the appeals process.
•Failure to provide an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation.
•Inadequate sanctions foster a hostile environment.
•Inadequate education and prevention fosters a hostile environment.
•Harm to academic performance and a lack of academic accommodations.
If the University is found in violation, they could face some serious penalties.
Sophie Karasek, co-founder of "End Rape on Campus," the group that filed this complaint, told WTOL, "Fines for violating the Clery act range up to $35,000 each. For violating Title IX, universities can have their federal funding revoked, although that has never happened."
The victim in the University of Toledo complaint says she was raped, and that her rapist was found guilty via a school code of conduct process. However, she says that his punishment did not fit his crime.
Instead of being expelled, she says he was fined just 25 dollars.
Late Wednesday afternoon a University spokesperson released the following statement:
"The University of Toledo fully investigates all reports of sexual misconduct and offers survivors resources on campus, including advocates in the Counseling Center, and through strong community partners such as the YWCA.
"While we cannot comment on any specific situation regarding a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, the University is committed to a thorough process to evaluate and investigate any reported violations. A Student Conduct Hearing Board with specially trained members reviews allegations on a case-by-case basis and if a student is found responsible of violating campus policy, the Student Conduct Officer recommends progressive and educational sanctions appropriate given the facts of the situation and the final sanctions are determined by the Hearing Board.
"Specifically regarding the sexual misconduct campus policy, an additional review is completed by the UT Office of Inclusion in compliance with Title IX to provide accommodations for students and to ensure the campus is safe and inclusive. The UT Police Department also investigates any sexual assault crime should an individual choose to press charges."
We spoke with Mary Martinez, student conduct officer at the University of Toledo, before this complaint was released. When asked about the case that sparked this complaint, she said she couldn't go into specifics.
But we do know that this complaint is being filed on behalf of a student who says she wasn't treated properly when she came forward with details of her sexual assault.