Student Claiming Sexual Assault Sues Northwestern Professor
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(STMW) — A Northwestern University student who filed a federal lawsuit against the school earlier this month has now sued the professor she claims sexually assaulted her during her freshman year.
The plaintiff claims a tenured professor at the Evanston university sexually assaulted her in February 2012 after they attended an art event together in Chicago, according to the new civil suit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
The university eventually found the student’s claims credible, according to the lawsuit, but the professor was not removed from campus. The suit claims the situation ultimately led her to attempt suicide, and she was later diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
According to the suit, the professor and student attended an art event in Chicago, and throughout the night the professor “insisted strongly” the student drink with him at several bars and later at his apartment, even though she was underage.
The student claims in the suit she repeatedly told the professor she felt uncomfortable and asked him to take her back to campus, but instead he took her back to his apartment.
At the time, she was “too intoxicated to put up any meaningful resistance to [the professor’s] unwelcome advances,” according to the lawsuit.
At his apartment, the lawsuit claims the student blacked out. When she regained consciousness, the professor was “furiously making out with” her and, despite her alleged pleas for him to stop, the lawsuit claims he was groping her breasts and buttocks.
She lost consciousness again and later woke up in the professor’s bed with his arms around her, the suit claims.
After the student informed a different professor of the alleged assault, the suit claims Northwestern’s Director of Sexual Harassment Prevention, Joan Slavin, began investigating the student’s complaints.
Two days after the incident, the student tried to kill herself “as a result of the stress and trauma of the events with [the professor],” the suit claims. She was diagnosed with PTSD and released from the hospital four days later.
Two months later, Slavin emailed the student, telling her the university concluded the professor “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward her.
But the professor remained on campus and the student ran into him several times, bringing on anxiety that occasionally rendered her unable to leave her home, the suit claims.
According to her attorney, the student filed a complaint with Chicago Police, though it was not immediately known where the alleged attack occurred.
The one-count lawsuit claims the professor violated the Illinois Gender Violence Act, because the sexual assault was based, at least in part, on the fact that the student is female.
The suit seeks an unspecified amount in damages for medical bills, emotional distress and attorney’s fees.
The professor has denied all of the student’s claims in a defamation lawsuit he filed against Sun-Times Media and other media outlets after the federal lawsuit was filed earlier this month.
The professor’s lawyer did not immediately return requests for comment.