Content Warning: This article includes references to sexual assault.
National Sexual Assault Hotline available 24 hours: 1-800-656-4673
Brown University Title IX Office: email@example.com and 401-863-2026
Brown Counseling and Psychological Services: 401-863-3476
SHARE Advocates are available for appointment by calling 401-863-2794 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
End Sexual Violence @ Brown Peer Support Partners
A lawsuit filed Monday both alleged that Brown violated the law in mishandling a Title IX case and accused a former Brown men’s lacrosse player — who has since graduated — of raping a student in October 2021.
The plaintiff, a Brown undergraduate identified by the pseudonym Jane Doe, alleges Brown failed “to comply with the law in connection with its mishandling of and retaliation against” her Title IX complaint following the alleged assault, according to the lawsuit. The Herald reviewed the lawsuit filing before the court sealed the complaint after Monday evening.
The lawsuit also names the former lacrosse player as a defendant. It alleges he sexually assaulted the plaintiff, causing her “severe physical and emotional harm.” The former lacrosse player is being represented by Ratcliffe Harten Galamaga LLP, a Providence firm. The firm did not respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit is one of several in recent years alleging the University has violated Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding. The plaintiff is represented by Herman Law Group, a Providence firm, as well as the New York law firm Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., which represents the plaintiffs in a different Title IX lawsuit originally filed in August 2021 as a class-action suit that alleged Brown neglected to protect students from sexual harassment and prevented the harassment from being reported. As of August, the case, now severed into multiple separate cases, was approaching discovery.
“What we allege is a systemic mishandling of Title IX cases,” Irene Lax, one of the attorneys representing Doe, told The Herald. “With respect to each of those lawsuits, we believe strongly in the strength of these allegations,” added Cindy Morgan, another attorney for the plaintiff.
The Title IX Office and the University’s athletics department directed requests for comment to University Spokesperson Brian Clark, who wrote in an email to The Herald that the University “dispute(s) the plaintiff’s claims against Brown.”
Clark wrote that the University complied with its protocols for addressing sexual misconduct claims in a “prompt, impartial and unbiased” way.
The lawsuit alleges Brown took 159 days to issue an investigative report after Doe registered a formal complaint with the Title IX office. It also alleges Brown didn’t release the official findings and recommendations of its investigation until 175 days after Doe’s initial complaint.
Court records show that the lacrosse player had previously filed a lawsuit, Stiles v. Brown, against Brown in December 2021 alleging that his suspension from the University — which happened before the end of the investigation — was a breach of contract. On Jan. 25, 2022, a court order allowed him to return to campus, and he graduated from Brown that spring, Doe’s lawsuit said. John Stiles, the name used by the lacrosse player in that case, was a pseudonym.
Clark noted that the University complied with the court order that struck down the former lacrosse player’s initial suspension and two-year ban from campus that the University issued in response to Doe’s Title IX complaint. According to Clark, the court decision was granted despite “Brown’s strong objection.”
The lawsuit alleges the former lacrosse player exchanged graphic, explicit photos and videos of Doe with his teammates who also lived in the senior lacrosse house, where Doe alleges the rape took place.
The lawsuit additionally alleges that some of the defendant’s teammates responded with jokes about the former lacrosse player’s actions.“Only one member of the lacrosse group chat asked if Jane was okay and safe,” the filing alleged.
The current lawsuit also claimed that Doe’s case reflects Brown’s “history and culture of failing to hold male students, and especially male student athletes, accountable for their acts of sexual misconduct against female students.”
“Brown has taken a wide range of actions to encourage a culture in which community members intervene to prevent incidents,” Clark wrote. “We remain committed to achieving a safe environment for all members of the campus community, and we will further detail the facts and our legal arguments in our response to the court.”
Samantha Chambers is a senior staff writer and has previously worked at The Herald as a copy editor. She is a second-year student from Tampa, Florida and is planning on concentrating in sociology.
Julia Vaz is a Metro editor covering the environment and crime and justice beats. She is a sophomore from Brazil studying Political Science and Literary Arts.
Neil Mehta is a University News section editor and design chief at The Herald. They study public health and statistics at Brown. Outside the office, you can find Neil baking and playing Tetris.