BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — LSU is facing a federal class-action lawsuit after former and current students claim the school violated Title IX laws. The group seeks more than $5 million.
The lawsuit was filed by Abby Owens, Samantha Brennan, Calise Richardson, Jade Lewis, Kennan Johnson, Elisabeth Andries, and others. The former and current LSU students reported sexual assault, harassment, domestic violence, and stalking to LSU employees.
They seek damages and injunctive relief against LSU and Tiger Athletic Foundation. Attorneys for the women say they believe thousands of former and current students were affected dating back to 2013. They are suing the university, its board of supervisors, former LSU President F. King Alexander, Sharon Lewis, Miriam Segar, Joe Alleva, Verge Ausberry, Jonathan Sanders, and others.
The women allege the school created a “culture of silence.” They claim student victims were discouraged from filing sexual misconduct complaints and retaliated against for reporting any offenses, especially if it involved football players.
They are represented by Karen Truszkowsk of Michigan-based Title IX law firms Temperance Legal Group and Elizabeth Abdnour Law and New Orleans-based Katie Lasky Law.
“We have filed an action on behalf of the young women who have bravely come forward, the young people who are still afraid, and every young person who has had the dream of going to LSU. The campus culture at LSU is broken. Until the priorities shift back to the mission of this university, the flagship school of Louisiana, to educate and support young people in their journey to better themselves, our clients will not stop in their quest for change,” Truszkowski says.
New Orleans attorney Suzy Montero, formally represented one of the women participating in this suit.
“It was only a matter of time [a lawsuit was filed], Montero said. “You are talking about a lot of young women unearthing some horrible things that they’ve gone through.”
The suit claims students in the football recruiting office were encouraged to do what it took to lure top football recruits, including having sex with them.
LSU released a statement saying: “We have only just been made aware of the lawsuit through media stories, and therefore can’t comment on something we have yet to review. Instead, we are focused on taking actions to ensure that we create a campus that is safe, just, and worthy of the trust that has been placed in us.”
The lawsuit comes on the heels of yet another federal lawsuit filed by current LSU football Associate Athletics Director Sharon Lewis. She claims the university conspired to silence or hide sexual misconduct claims. Lewis says she was also retaliated against for trying to report those claims. She’s asking for $50 million in damages.
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