A one-time member of the women’s lacrosse team at Northwestern is the latest ex-athlete to sue the university, claiming NU negligently admitted a baseball player knowing that he had a history of sexual violence, and that the baseball player later sexually assaulted her.

As reported by Crain’s Chicago Business, the “Jane Doe” litigation alleges that before the baseball player was admitted in 2021, NU was warned by “at least seven [of his] current and former classmates” that he “had a documented history as a serial, sexual abuser towards his female classmates throughout middle school and high school.”

In addition, the suit says that “these communications ‘warned Northwestern that [his] unchecked conduct would result in additional harm to female students at Northwestern.'”

The complainant also says that the baseball player sexually assaulted her in July 2022, even as she repeatedly told him to stop, an assault which, the complaint alleges, “was … severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.”

The woman says she reported the alleged assault to Athletics Director Derrick Gragg in January 2023, and also told NU’s Title IX office a few weeks later, but, the lawsuit says, “‘Northwestern did absolutely nothing.'”

The suit also says she filed a formal complaint with the university in May.

Crain’s also quotes Tamara Holder, an attorney for the plaintiff, as saying “We are determined to end the cycle of institutional abuse. Northwestern can no longer hide from their public-facing elitism and secret coverups.”

In a statement provided to Evanston Now, NU spokesperson Jon Yates said, “After receiving Jane Doe’s email in January, 2023, an Athletics official reported her allegations to Northwestern University’s Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Compliance (OCR).

“On the same day, OCR contacted Jane Doe and provided information about resources, supportive measures and resolution options. Jane Doe’s allegations are currently under investigation by OCR, and OCR remains in contact with her.”

The lawsuit states the lacrosse player left the team in May. That’s the same month when NU won the national lacrosse championship. It’s unclear if she left the team before or after the NCAA tournament.

More than a dozen former football players have also filed suit against the university, alleging emotionally and physically degrading hazing, often sexual in nature.

The scandal cost legendary football coach Pat Fitzgerald his job. Fitzgerald has denied being aware of the hazing.

A former volleyball player has also sued NU, alleging that she was singled out for abusive disciplinary measures.

Northwestern has hired former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch to look into the culture of NU athletics.

The NU sports suits

FiledPlaintiff(s)Among the claimsAttorneysTeamYears
Aug.10Jane Doesexual assaultTamara HolderLacrosse/
Aug. 3Tom Carnifaxdegrading sexual contactCrump, LevinFootball2016-2019
Aug. 3John Doe #3groomed to believe conduct was normalCrump, LevinFootball2014-2018
Aug. 2John Doe #2toxic culture, sexual abuse, racial discriminationHart, RomanucciFootball2004-2008
Aug. 2John Doe #1toxic culture, sexual abuse, racial discriminationHart, RomanucciFootball2004-2008
Aug. 2Ramon Diazforced to rub against other nude bodies in the showerSalvi, StinarFootball2005-2008
July 31Warren Miles-Longfought off players trying to dry hump himCrump, LevinFootball2013-2018
July 31John Doe #2Crump, LevinFootball2015-2019
July 28John Doe #1a minor at time of abuseCrump, LevinFootball2015-2018
July 27Simba Shortsexually and mentally abusedCrump, LevinFootball2015
July 24Lloyd Yates sexual violence and assaultCrump, LevinFootball2015-2017
July 24Jane Doe #1toxic cultureSalvi, StinarVolleyball
July ??John Doe #3Salvi, StinarFootball
July 19John Doe #2hazing, racial discriminationSalvi, StinarFootball
July 18John Doe #1sexualized hazing and physical abuseSalvi, StinarFootball

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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1 Comment

  1. If this is true that Derrick Gragg did nothing when the report was made he has got to go!

    The department is rotten from the AD to the players.

    Had the school done the work when the cheerleaders made the case NU wouldn’t be in the position they are now. So much of this is related to the toxic relationship of the trustees and the school admin. The trustees have the money and all the power. The opaque structure and the fact that it is so heavily weighted to people with immense amounts of wealth (mostly from finance) is a serious problem.

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