Lawsuit against Howard U claims school didn't do enough to help rape victims

Federal lawsuit filed against Howard University

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A federal lawsuit was filed against Howard University on Wednesday.

The complaint alleges that the D.C. school dropped the ball in the way it handled reports of sexual assault that occurred on campus in March 2016. A male RA at the university was accused of raping a female student.

The Metropolitan Police Department closed that case without an arrest after the U.S. Attorney's office declined to file charges. 

The plaintiffs in this lawsuit are listed as Jane Doe 1 through 5. The suit claims that two of the women left the school because of safety concerns.

RELATED: Students protest Howard University's handling of rape investigation

Although Howard University is the only defendant listed in the lawsuit, it also accuses the woman in charge of dealing with sex assaults on campus of failing to respond to the alleged rape victims in a timely fashion.

WUSA9 reached out to a Howard University spokesperson for a comment on the lawsuit, but no one responded until late Thursday afternoon with the following statement:

Sexual assault is a critical issue on campuses across higher education.  Howard University takes very seriously all allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, and gender-based discrimination occurring on the University’s campus or involving the University’s students. Our commitment is evidenced by our rigorous enforcement of the University’s Title IX Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Discrimination in Education Program and Activities.  The University has been, and remains, committed to diligently investigating any such allegations to ensure a safe and healthy community for our faculty, staff and students. 

Out of consideration for the privacy of all individuals involved, and as a matter of practice,  we do not comment on pending litigation.

MORE: Howard permanently dismisses former RA accused of raping fellow student

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