Northwestern faces lawsuit over alleged mishandling of sexual assault case

The latest lawsuit against Northwestern University has nothing to do with football or hazing. It comes from a student who's a former member of the women's lacrosse team.

In the suit, the woman – identified as Jane Doe – says a current member of the Northwestern baseball team raped her in July 2022, and when she reported it, the university failed to take meaningful action.

The lawsuit accuses the University and its Board of Trustees of negligence and violating Title IX.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Wednesday, accuses Northwestern of admitting the player despite receiving and reading emails from six individuals who appear to be former classmates of his, warning them of his previous behavior. The emails all describe instances of sexual abuse, including one alleged interchange between former faculty and the player's mother.

The suit says Northwestern failed to protect Jane Doe after she reported the alleged rape to the athletic director in January. According to the lawsuit, one former classmate's email said, "[He] has a horrible and long record of sexually harassing and sexually abusing girls...I am sorry to say that if you let him onto campus or the field, many more lives can be fatally affected."


Responding in a statement, a Northwestern spokesperson said, "After receiving Jane Doe’s email in January 2023, an Athletics official reported her allegations to Northwestern University’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (OCR). On the same day, OCR contacted Jane Doe and provided information about resources, supportive measures and resolution options. Jane Doe’s allegations are currently under investigation by OCR, and OCR remains in contact with her."

The man accused of raping the plaintiff is mentioned by named throughout this lawsuit, but he is not named as a defendant. He is still enrolled here and is an active member of the baseball team.