Federal Authorities are Investigating USC Over Dismissal of Rape Allegations
Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the handling of at least two alleged rapes at the University of Southern California to determine whether the school violated the victims’ civil rights by dismissing their claims, the latest in a growing number of similar investigations at colleges across the country.
The U.S. Department of Education confirmed to ABC News it has opened a Title IX sex discrimination investigation after receiving a 107-page complaint containing allegations by more than a dozen USC students who claimed the school did not take appropriate action after reporting sexual abuse to college officials.
One USC student who joined the complaint, junior Ari Mostov, 21, says she was told by campus authorities that her alleged attacker, a fellow screenwriting major with whom she shared all her classes, did not commit a sexual assault because “he didn’t orgasm” and that she was told not pursue her case with the LAPD.
“I was told that if I called LAPD, the detectives would be very tough on me and that defense lawyers would call me names in court. The school did everything it could to dissuade me from talking about being raped and asking for help,” Mostov told abcnews.com.
The USC inquest is the latest in a fast-growing string of Title IX investigations launched by the department’s Office of Civil Rights following complaints by students across the country that colleges are covering up alleged rapes and intentionally dismissing accusations of sexual assault.
On Wednesday, just two days after the USC investigation was made public, the University of Colorado Boulder’s chancellor issued a letter to students and faculty announcing that school too was the subject of a federal investigation.
Since January, students from the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College in Los Angeles, and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have filed Title IX complaints.
In the USC case, the students accused the college of misrecording and under-reporting rapes, refusing to expel known attackers, and advising students not to file claims with the police.