KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A judge has allowed the University of Tennessee to file additional documents on a motion to dismiss a sexual assault lawsuit.
Filed by eight unidentified women, the lawsuit alleges that University of Tennessee administration, the athletic department and football coaches were made aware of previous sexual assaults and rapes by football players, yet chose to ignore the sexual assaults and take corrective actions. The lawsuit cites a sexual assault case against the University of Colorado, where two women said they were sexually assaulted by football players and recruits while the high school recruits were visiting Boulder. In that case the university had an “official policy” to provide high school football recruits with female host students to entertain them, ignoring the fact that the event created an expectation of sex by the recruits, that prior sexual assaults by recruits had occurred at similar past events and also ignored warnings by the local District Attorney to develop policies for supervising recruits and training football players on sexual harassment.
In new filings, the university says in the hundreds of pages of pleadings the plaintiffs have failed to articulate any “official policy” leading to the sexual assault cases. “Instead, Plaintiffs throw mud at the wall in the hope something will stick,” said the university in the new motions to dismiss the case.Continuing coverage:University of Tennessee Sexual Assault
The additional documents says the Plaintiffs claim that the university’s “official policy” is “university interference, especially by the athletic department, into sexual assault investigations involving male athletes,” and to disregard “obvious and known risk of sexual assaults, especially by male athletes, both on and off UT’s campus” is a “far cry from the precise ‘official policy'” that was laid out in the University of Colorado case.
Instead, the university says plaintiffs just allege the school was negligent in failing to do more to prevent the alleged incidents because they have a duty to prevent crime. They say they only have limited control over student behavior, whereas the University of Colorado has much more control over high-school football recruits.
On top of that, the university also said one of the plaintiffs filed an assault claim after the statute of limitations had expired, a second does not state a claim under Title IX and third plaintiff admitted she had no claim for monetary relief for any action the university took.
The university concludes that the plaintiffs lack the standing and asks the court to not require the university to answer to “the nearly 100 paragraphs accusing unrelated individuals of crimes and other misconduct over a period of more than twenty years.” They say the allegations are “irrelevant to the remaining claims in this lawsuit and by definition would become ‘immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous.’”More:
- Support for motion to dismiss [PDF]
- Reply in support of motion to dismiss [PDF]
- Unpublished court cases that support University of Tennessee’s motion to dismiss [PDF]