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Rape Case Highlights Inadequacy of Yale Sex Assault Policy

A federal judge dismissed on April 30 charges of breach of contract, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress made by a former student who claims she was raped while at Yale, but her charges of defamation and inadequate protection from harassment will go to trial. The plaintiff's lawyer, Robert Berke, believes that Yale violated Title IX in the way it handled the alleged assault. "Once an educational establishment is aware of a potential problem, they have an obligation to protect students from harassment," Berke told the Yale Daily News. "Yale didn't do that." University officials have declined to discuss the case, the News reported.

The Yale Women's Center has been advocating for reforms of Yale's sexual assault policy for over four years, including establishing offender profiling in order to aid victims pressing charges, but these reforms have been rejected by university administrators, according to the Yale Herald. Madhumita Lahiri, the Yale Women's Center director of political activism, said that the administration has argued there is no need for reform because of the low incidence of sexual assault, but there are indications that rape and sexual assault are underreported, according to the Herald. Though the October 2002 University Report on Campus Security shows only one incident of sexual assault in 2001 and two each in 2000 and 1999, the New Haven Rape Crisis Center received six calls from Yale students between September 2002 and January 2003, the Herald reports.

Berke expects the trial to begin sometime in the next few months, and said he is optimistic about the outcome, the News reports. Patrick Noonan, who represents Yale in the matter, said he expects Yale to win the lawsuit because he believes it adequately followed its procedures for protecting students from sexual assault. "Even if she was raped, that wasn't Yale's fault," said Noonan, according to the News.

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Media Resources: Yale Herald 4/18/03; Yale Daily News 4/30/03



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