Ten Former and Current Loyola Students Now Listed in Title IX Lawsuit Against University

Seven additional plaintiffs have been added to a lawsuit against Loyola for its handling of Title IX cases involving allegations of sexual assault, rape, sexual violence and sexual misconduct. 

Content warning: Sexual misconduct, assault, rape

Seven additional plaintiffs have been added to a lawsuit against Loyola for its handling of Title IX cases involving allegations of sexual assault, rape, sexual violence and sexual misconduct. 

The women are joining a lawsuit filed last year which detailed the experiences of three former Loyola students who filed, or attempted to file, Title IX cases for sexual assault and harassment, The Phoenix previously reported

“Loyola has systemically mishandled and underreported student complaints of sexual misconduct, contrary to federal and state regulations in addition to its own internal policies and procedures, dating back to at least 2011,” according to the lawsuit. 

Along with the seven additional plaintiffs, the amended complaint highlighted 11 claims involving negligence, infliction of emotional distress and breach of legal obligation. 

The amended complaint states “The University had notice and knowledge many serial predators” were on campus and “failed to prevent Plaintiffs and other students from injury.”

Physical pain and suffering, financial and earning capacity loss, mental anguish as well as past and future medical expenses were attributed in the amended complaint as harm that could have been avoided if the university adhered to its legal obligations and representations it made to students in ensuring their safety. 

Last October, the Division of Student Development sent two campus-wide emails acknowledging sexual assault allegations circulating social media and offered support. 

“The health, safety, and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff remain our top priority and a responsibility we take very seriously,” an email addressed to faculty and staff said. 

In a separate email addressed to Loyola students, the department wrote, “To any student who has experienced sexual violence, we see you, we hear you, and we are here for you. You are not alone.”

Loyola filed a motion to dismiss the case April 5 stating the plaintiff’s’ claims each fail for a number of reasons.

Among them, Loyola argued the plaintiffs do not plausibly allege Loyola “intended to inflict severe emotional distress or knew there was a high probability that its actions would cause severe emotional distress.”

The motion to dismiss continued to state the plaintiffs can’t establish Loyola had a legal duty to ensure the safety of the students, it breached a duty of safety or that Loyola could have reasonably foreseen the assaults of these students. Additionally, it notes a number of the students alleged they were assaulted off-campus.

Loyola spokesperson Matt McDermott declined to comment on pending litigation but made note of Loyola’s Comprehensive Policy. The policy outlines Loyola’s regulations against discrimination, sexual misconduct and retaliation, according to the Office of Equity and Compliance’s website.

“Loyola University Chicago is committed to ensuring that reports of sexual misconduct are addressed consistent with federal and state laws and the University’s institutional values and educational mission,” McDermott wrote in an email to The Phoenix. “Loyola encourages anyone who experiences misconduct under the Comprehensive Policy to submit a report so that the University may take appropriate steps to promptly stop, prevent, and remedy any substantiated violation.”

Loyola stated in court records a majority of the plaintiff’s claims are time-barred by the statute of limitations. Title IX claims are subjected to a two-year statute, according to an Illinois Compiled Statute on personal injury.

Carrie Ward, the chief executive officer of the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault, said the organization has worked against legal limits for years to make it easier for survivors to come forward.

“It is very difficult if you’re someone who has been sexually abused as a child to come forward or if you’re someone who was sexually assaulted as an adult because you have to feel some semblance of safety for you to be able to come forward and disclose,” Ward said.

Nicky Andrews

Nicky Andrews