W&M, U.Va. under investigation for handling of sexual assaults
James R. Marsh said the department has taken “an inordinate amount of time” to investigate allegations about how the university handled his client’s 2011 rape case.
Those complexities are reflected in the suits Marsh filed in March in U.S. District Court in Washington – one seeks to press OCR to hold U.Va. accountable and another action challenges new provisions of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SaVE) Act.
Supporters say the SaVE reforms put more responsibility on colleges to stop assaults, but others, including Marsh, contend the changes allow the schools to place a greater burden of proof on victims.
The suit, filed under the name Jane Doe, alleges U.Va. officials destroyed or withheld from the sexual assault board key evidence, including photos showing her injuries after she was drugged and raped by another student.
Marsh said he is encouraged the Department of Education is investigating a large number of colleges and universities, but “our pending lawsuit seeks to ensure the timeliness and completeness of those investigations.”
The government as well as the schools need to be held accountable, he said. “After more than 18 months, our client and other students at U.Va. are left wondering whether or not the university is in compliance with even the basic requirements under Title IX.”