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Former Butler student: School could have prevented my rape

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A former lacrosse player at Butler University said the university did not take appropriate action against a former football player who allegedly raped both her and another student.  

The lawsuit claims that the university was made aware of a rape allegation in August 2016, when a Butler volleyball player accused a football player of raping her, but court documents indicate the school did not take any steps to figure out who the player was until a second student accused a football player of rape in December.

“M.H. turned her face into a pillow, crying during the sexual assault,” the lawsuit claims, referring to a lacrosse player recalling her December encounter with a football player, who “laid on top of her with his forearm holding her down, preventing her from leaving.”

The lawsuit claims the football player had sex with the lacrosse player without her consent. Court documents said it happened at a December 2016 party that she left but came returned to so she could check on a friend who was drunk.     

The lacrosse player reported the incident two days later. Then the school started investigating.     

That’s when she got an email from the Title IX coordinator at Butler, per the lawsuit, which said, “I wanted to let you know that I have received information regarding another report involving M.K.,” the football player in question.     

The lawsuit claims a Butler volleyball player accused a football player of raping her but the school did not open a Title IX investigation into this incident, which occurred in August.     

“As a result of Butler’s failures to act and deliberate indifference, the lacrosse player was raped and sexually assaulted,” said the lawsuit.

The allegations shocked Butler students, but some said they have heard rumblings about problems in the past. 

“Based off talking to older people and upper classmen I believe that it has been a problem where they hadn’t felt as safe or where they can go to people,” said current Butler sophomore Madeleine Kiefer, who spoke with News 8 on Monday.

Kiefer said the university has done a good job during her two years on campus. 

But now one student claims it wasn’t good enough and is seeking damages to cover her transfer to another school, as well as medical and psychological treatment.

Butler responded with the following statement: 

“Butler University takes its obligations under Title IX very seriously, including in this case in which the University thoroughly investigated the allegations and expelled the accused student after completing the investigation and hearing process.

“Butler is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all members of its campus community. We have prevention, response and awareness programs, policies, and practices in place to address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and have enhanced these over time to increase effectiveness.”

The plaintiff is seeking unspecified damages for emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering. 

Butler University students who have experienced sexual assault can call (317) 910-5572 for support from a victim advocate. 

The university has more information about counseling services and outreach on their website.