Former nursing student sues Marquette University, claims school was negligent in rape case

MILWAUKEE -- A former nursing student alleges Marquette University's lack of action allowed another student to sexually assault her. In addition to claims the university failed to prevent the assault, the former student says Marquette tried to keep her from reporting it to police. Those are the major allegations in a lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court. The suit alleges that in August of 2014, the victim, then a sophomore nursing student, received harassing text messages from a male student she considered to be a friend. "She was very clear with him that she did not appreciate the offensive and rude and somewhat threatening text messages he sent," said Julie Porter, who is representing the former student in the lawsuit.

Marquette University

She allegedly met up with him a few days later while intoxicated and that's when he raped her. The former student, listed as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, said when she told school officials, Marquette's Department of Public Safety "discouraged her and her parents from reporting the crime to the Milwaukee Police Department." The suit claims the victim eventually heard from another student who said the alleged attacker, identified in the suit only as "KW," stalked her the previous year. Porter says they learned Marquette initially suspended KW only to reverse its decision.

Julie Porter

"Marquette University knew and had reason to know this student, KW, was a danger on the Marquette campus and they let him back on campus," Porter said. University officials say they just received this complaint. Brian Dorrington, Sr. Director of University Communication, issued the following comment on this matter:

"Marquette University has just received this complaint. We take any claim brought forward by our students extremely seriously and we will take the appropriate time to review it thoroughly. We care deeply about all of our students and their well-being is our highest priority."

The lawsuit goes on to claim Marquette put the former student on academic probation, even though her grades were good enough. It says she had a 2.62 GPA while a 2.5 is typically the point at which students find themselves on probation. When she asked why she was being put on probation, a dean allegedly said something to the effect of "we do that sometimes." The young woman left the school earlier this year. The alleged attacker was criminally charged by later acquitted.

Marquette University

Jane Doe and her lawyers are demanding a jury trial.