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UConn settles sexual assault suit for $1.3M

STORRS, Conn. — The University of Connecticut will pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit by five women who alleged the school did not take seriously their claims of sexual assaults on campus.

The bulk of the settlement, $900,000, will go to Silvana Moccia, a former UConn ice hockey player who alleged she was kicked off the team after reporting she had been raped by a male hockey player in August 2011.

University officials denied they have been indifferent to reports of assaults and did not admit any wrongdoing.

The university remains the subject of a Title IX investigation by the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights.

Sexual violence investigations are pending at nearly 70 postsecondary institutions whose actions, policies and procedures are being questioned.

The UConn suit alleged discrimination based on gender and retaliation in violation of Title IX, which guarantees equal educational opportunities to students at schools that receive federal funds.

The two sides issued a joint statement, which includes an acknowledgment by the plaintiffs that "certain UConn employees provided compassionate care and assistance to them," although they alleged the response of the school as a whole showed deliberate indifference.

UConn officials detailed steps taken to ensure women can report sexual assaults to police or schools and receive proper guidance and counseling.

"This lawsuit may have been settled, but the issue of sexual assault on college campuses has not been," president Susan Herbst said. "Our hearts go out to all victims of sexual violence. The University has taken many positive, important steps in the battle against sexual assault in recent years … but there is still more to be done."

The U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights began the Title IX investigation in December based on complaints by four of the plaintiffs and three other women.

Kylie Angell receives $115,000 in the settlement. Carolyn Luby will get $25,000; Rosemary Richi receives $60,000 and Erica Daniels receives $125,000. The Associated Press normally does not release the names of victims in sexual assault cases but the women decided to make their names public.

None of the men involved in the complaints ever faced criminal charges. The assaults allegedly occurred between 2010 and 2013.

vote is set: The NCAA's board of directors has scheduled a Aug. 7 vote on a formal proposal to give schools in the highest-profile conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — more influence over the college rules. The proposal also would give athletic directors and student-athletes bigger roles in the legislative process. In other NCAA news, USA Today reported that a name-and-likeness release has been eliminated from forms that Division I athletes sign annually. The release had granted permission for a name or picture to be used as promotions without compensation.

UConn settles sexual assault suit for $1.3M 07/18/14 [Last modified: Friday, July 18, 2014 8:40pm]
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