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USC accused of mishandling rape cases; federal investigation underway

July 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A group of students has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education accusing the University of Southern California of mishandling rape and sexual assault cases.

Tucker Reed says she was raped by a fellow USC student. She says she reported it to the school and claims it mishandled the investigation.

"The process made me feel raped a second time," Reed said.

Reed says the incident happened in December 2010. She filed a complaint in November 2011. She says her evidence included a recording of the suspect admitting to the crime.

"The investigation dragged on for over six months, ending with the finding that I had not met the preponderance of the evidence threshold despite the confessions and a host of other evidence," said Reed.

Reed says she also reported it to the Los Angeles Police Department and that there's a separate investigation, but so far no charges have been filed.

Another student, Ari Mostov, says she reported her assault to the school. She then had to attend classes with the suspect for an entire semester.

"USC was unwilling to make any accommodations for me by moving around the classes of either my rapist or me so I could avoid having to confront this man on a daily basis," said Mostov.

Several students formed SCAR, the Student Coalition Against Rape. They filed a complaint with the Office of Civil rights at the Department of Education and there is now a federal investigation.

"Now that this investigation has been opened, we hope the university will regard our cases and future cases with more care," said student Alex Schwartz.

The school issued statements saying that it "takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously."

"The opening of an investigation is an expected step in the process, and the OCR states that 'opening the allegations for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination with regard to their merits,'" said Jody Shipper, executive director of the USC Office of Equity and Diversity.

The investigation is expected to last several months. In addition to USC, the Department of Education is also investigating Occidental College, the University of California, Berkeley, and other universities across the country.


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