Former student sues Emerson over its handling of her rape accusation

An Emerson student who says she was raped by a fellow student in 2012 is suing the college under federal equal-education and crime-reporting laws.

In her suit, filed this week in US District Court, Jillian Doherty alleges she "endured months of pain and suffering following the attack, and that suffering continues today" as a result of both a 2012 attack and by what she says is the college's mishandling of its investigation into her charges.

Emerson College violated Title IX due to Emerson College administrators’ inadequate procedure for handling sexual assault cases. Emerson’s pattern and practices included lengthy adjudications, victim blaming, insufficient investigations, and failures to deliver meaningful sanctions. Emerson College did not even follow their own protocols, and failed to properly educate and train their administrators. This, in turn, discouraged students from coming forward when they experienced sexual assault at the hands of their fellow students.

Doherty says the mishandling is particularly egregious because the college already knew it had a sexual-assault problem based on other cases, including that of Susan Tedesco, with whom Doherty filed a complaint with the Department of Education last year.

Doherty is seeking damages and penalties.



    Free tagging: 

    Doherty complaint143.02 KB


    best of luck

    Good for her. I wish more people had the courage to step forward so that we resemble what America could be as far as women's rights, instead of this draconian third world nonsense.


    I hope this means more people reject Emerson

    I know at least three young women and one young man from my sons graduating class or the class before who rejected Emerson due to their reputation for rape blaming.

    It doesn't take much to unearth this bullshit on the web these days, and, for what they are charging, kids and parents do their homework.



    I understand exactly the sentiment you're going for here but I think the reality is that it won't be any more enlightened anywhere else.

    As I was writing this, it occurred to me that if students applied some of the same tenacity that Market Basket employees have been, somebody might notice. You start hurting wallets and people start noticing. As soon as it becomes unprofitable to sweep the rampant rape culture under the rug, maybe it'll stop.

    Felt a little gross writing that

    I haven't heard of any colleges getting props

    By on

    for their handling of rape allegations--these days it's all bad news pretty much. That said, I'm very uncomfortable with the whole idea that colleges are supposed to take on some kind of policing/judicial role. The blurring of lines here and elsewhere (these stories all start to sound eerily familiar in their details--alcohol, blurred, mixed signals of consent, post-event texts and Facebook messages, and then rape accusations delivered months afterwards) make it very confusing. If these are criminal acts of rape then they need to be treated as such by the accusers and the institutions but too often they're falling into this grey area--she doesn't want the guy jailed, she just wants him expelled or moved out of the dorm. I honestly don't know how even the most well-meaning college administrators are supposed to handle this kind of thing without imposing draconian, patronizing, and unenforceable rules regarding consent, alcohol, etc.


    I'm curious, why did she go

    I'm curious, why did she go to the school and not the police? Does the administration discourage going to the proper authorities to keep things "in house?"

    Why did she not go to them after she was let down by the administration?

    What a useful comment. Well,

    What a useful comment. Well, I'm glad we established for impressionable people that rape victims have nowhere to turn to then to get justice, I guess suicide is the only option???

    I'm curious, why did she go

    I'm curious, why did she go to the school and not the police? Does the administration discourage going to the proper authorities to keep things "in house?"

    All schools do this. The last thing a University wants is a police report with their name on it.

    What are they gonna do, kick

    What are they gonna do, kick her out? That's another lawsuit waiting to happen.

    What makes schools so special that they're the only institution without the power to deliver criminal justice to handle a rape investigation?

    What makes schools so special

    What makes schools so special that they're the only institution without the power to deliver criminal justice to handle a rape investigation?

    Well, first off, they're INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING, and most of them have a certain degree of status in whatever town they're in. So there's that.

    But more importantly, in most cases, this is exactly what everyone wants. Some kid is driving drunk? Shoplifting? A little drunk and disorderly? He doesn't want to get arrested. His parents don't want him to get arrested. The University doesn't want him to get arrested. Handle it internally and everyone is happy. The kid doesn't get a police record and the parent and school are spared some embarrassment.

    That's the way it's been since I first went to a private school 35 years ago, and for a lot of typical drunk bullshit where nobody gets hurt, it's a fairly reasonable way to handle it (IMO). Obviously, though, when rape or other physical violence is involved, it's less than ideal, but the system has been in place for a long time.

    So we teach the "best and

    So we teach the "best and brightest" that even though mommy and daddy aren't there to ground them, there are still ways to avoid being punished as adults. No wonder most "adults" are barely "adultlike" until 30. What does it take for the school to get the police involved? A double murder?

    I was thinking the same thing Sally.

    I skimmed the complaint but noticed that students are supposed to get information at orientation which says that sexual consent cannot be given if one of the persons is intoxicated. Wouldn't that in itself make this incident a rape? What happens if the suspect is charged criminally and is found innocent, does this mean the suspect is now entitled to something?

    And I'm still confused as to how Title 9 has anything to do with these complaints. They involve people raping other people. Unless there is some sort of issue of one gender not getting prosecuted to the same extent as another gender, how does Title 9 come into effect here?

    And were the police contacted? The statue of limitations did not expire here, but they are not mentioned. I would assume at the very least the college would contact the police, as colleges without sworn officers like Emmerson usually do.

    Harvard Law School, Harvard Business School, BU are currently going under major overhalls with this issue right now. Apparently Harvard didn't have a Title 9 full time employee which is pretty common among schools that size.

    Either way, I find it somewhat hard to believe that these respected institutions can screw up this issue so badly, especially when it comes to simple procedures and regulations. The follow up, investigation and judicial review process can be tricky, but it seems that some of these schools don't even have the basics down yet.


    Title 9

    By on

    The first section of Title 9 reads:

    (a) No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance [...]

    In civil rights cases, plaintiffs often argue "disparate impact," that is, no one in the administration purposely crafted a policy that would exclude women from enjoying the full benefits of their education because they were fearful they would be raped (as a matter of policy), however, when the real effect of campus culture is that women on campus are either subject to bodily harm themselves and forced to decide between facing their rapist daily or leaving school, or even if women on campus feel that they are subject to harrassment and potential bodily harm just by being/living on campus, then there is a pretty good argument that they are excluded in meaningful ways.

    Thank you

    By on

    This is one of the most intelligent comments I've seen on the topic in a while.

    There are no good answers to

    By on

    There are no good answers to these questions, but it's clear that these types of incidents have become common-place on campuses across America. I think it's good that they are in the news and people are bringing them to court. If the victims don't get a sense of perfect justice from this whole process, in the very least, the University's responsibilities, which are very murky now, will be clear in the future.

    I don't disagree that many

    By on

    I don't disagree that many colleges aren't greatly equipped to deal with these situations, and that police aren't great - or even good- at dealing with rape victims, but a college cannot compel a victim who doesn't want to to take it to the authorities of they don't want to.


    By on

    That's why I posted it. Nobody is happy with the outcome when universities assume the responsibilities of the criminal justice system. Call the cops.