KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An Illinois woman who is suing the University of Kansas for how it handled her sexual assault allegations is joining a separate lawsuit that accuses the school of misleading the public about the safety of its campus housing.
In a statement released Thursday by her father, Jim McClure, in a Kansas City, Missouri, law office, Sarah McClure said she was assaulted Aug. 29 in a Jayhawker Towers apartment on campus by the same member of the KU football team who had assaulted a fellow rowing team member a year earlier.
Sarah McClure, who lives in suburban Chicago, said the university did nothing for months after she reported the assault in October. She also said she was ostracized by her coaches and feared for her safety after the assault.
“I struggled every day,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t leave my dorm room. I stayed inside with a chair under my doorknob because I felt so unsafe.”
McClure has filed a Title IX lawsuit accusing the school of failing to investigate her assault, failing to protect her from intimidation and allowing her coaches to retaliate against her.
KU police said a report was forwarded to the district attorney’s office for review and the office declined to prosecute the football player. But he was expelled after the school’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access found him responsible for misconduct.
On Thursday, McClure, her father and Daisy Tackett, who says she was sexually assaulted by the same player in 2014 and also has filed a Title IX suit against the school, joined a lawsuit filed in March by Tackett’s parents, James and Amanda Tackett.
That lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, asks for a judge to rule that the university violated the Consumer Protection Act by falsely misrepresenting that campus housing is safe, and also order the school to cease representing its dorms as safe until they are “demonstrated” as such.
Dan Curry, whose firm is representing plaintiffs in all three lawsuits, said McClure’s statement on Thursday was part of an effort to persuade others who have experienced sexual assaults at Kansas to join the Tackett suit.
“Legally, we’re moving to increase the number of class reps in the class action,” Curry said. “Culturally, anytime a woman is willing to come forward publicly and call out the university, it’s a good sign.”
University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson told The Lawrence Journal-World that KU takes all claims of sexual violence very seriously.
“The university thoroughly investigated Ms. McClure’s allegations, and as a result, the accused student is no longer enrolled at KU,” Barcomb-Peterson said. “We are confident the courts will agree that we’ve met our obligations to both Ms. McClure and Ms. Tackett.”
The AP generally doesn’t identify victims of alleged sexual assault, but McClure and Daisy Tackett have said they want their names used.
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