Sexual assault complaint still in investigation
Published: Thursday, January 30, 2014
Updated: Thursday, January 30, 2014 23:01
In late October 2013, when seven students came forward with high-profile discrimination lawyer Gloria Allred to file a Title IX complaint against the university and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, it set the stage for an embattling and lengthily legal process.
“The litigation remains pending in court, and we do not have an estimate on when it may be resolved,” university spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.
Yet in the meantime, the plaintiffs and defendants are doing what they can to prepare. After an intensive and competitive request for proposal process, the State Office of the Attorney General approved the hiring of the Wiggin and Dana law firm as outside legal counsel to represent UConn in the upcoming cases. On January 17, Wiggin and Dana officially filed its appearance in Title IX litigation on behalf of UConn. The firm will also represent UConn in the private Title IX lawsuit filed in federal court.
Richard Orr, UConn’s chief legal officer, released the statement, “Wiggin and Dana’s team is especially suited to all aspects of the representation. The firm has an extensive practice representing and advising institutions of higher education, headed by Aaron Bayer, who previously served as general counsel and secretary to Connecticut College and as the Deputy Attorney General of Connecticut.”
The team from Wiggin and Dana includes attorneys with experience in sexual assault and harassment cases.
Orr continued, “UConn intends to work cooperatively with OCR to make sure that the university has in place sound, effective policies and procedures related to sexual assault that will protect and support our students and fully comply with Title IX.”
Regarding the complaint that has been filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Jim Bradshaw of the department’s press office stated, “In light of federal privacy laws, OCR can neither confirm nor deny whether any specific individuals are or are not involved in any OCR matter.”
The Department did confirm, however, that there is one open Title IX investigation involving the University of Connecticut. At this point, the Office of Civil Rights is not making a judgment or determination on the case; they are neutrally collecting and analyzing evidence and data.
There is no indication how much longer they will be in the investigation stage before making a decision, or what specific details and information they have looked into.