YPSILANTI, Mich. – Eleven woman have filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Eastern Michigan University, claiming that the university ignored reports of sexual assault.
“These victims have been not only victimized by this brutal assault, but re victimized by having to relive it and having retaliation brought against them,” said attorney Todd Flood.
Flood spoke to Local 4 on behalf of his 11 clients identified as Jane Does -- 11 young women who said they had been sexually assaulted on or near campus between the years 2015 and 2020.
“If certain things were put in place in certain steps and protocols were put in place in the very beginning, many Jane Does would not have been raped, because there was a serial rapist here on campus, there was multiple rapist on campus. And because of those things being swept under the rug, other Jane Does would not have been raped,” Flood said.
The 166-page lawsuit claims that multiple entities within the school covered up a series of rapes that happened, specifically involving the fraternities Delta Tau Delta and Aplha Sigma Phi. A number of these sexual assault cases occurred during “traditional styled rituals” happened within the frat houses, the lawsuit states.
“There needs to be a fight change amongst fraternities, Greek life, alcohol, when you read the facts again they speak for themselves,” Flood said.
The lawsuit also specifically names former EMU Title IX director Melody Werner as someone who failed to report certain accusations to police back in 2018. She’s currently the director of Michigan State’s office of institutional equity.
In a campus update on the university’s website, the school denied the allegations.
Part of the letter reads:
“To the Eastern Michigan University community:
“I want to update you on something I shared with you last September when I issued a campus message regarding our deep concern about the reports of criminal sexual conduct involving our former students that occurred off campus several years ago. I noted at the time, and this stands today, that we stand by and strongly support all survivors of sexual assault, and that this must be reflected in the University’s actions and policies.
“There is no place for sexual violence in our campus community and we will always take swift action to stop it. An important part of that commitment is communicating with students, faculty, staff and the community whenever something like this occurs, as well as providing information about the University’s handling of such cases...”EMU University President James Smith
Click here to read the entire letter.
However, Flood said the lawsuit is aiming to change the fabric of EMU’s culture against these types of crimes.
“This is really something that sits in our backyard, and something that these courageous women are stepping forward, and it’s not just about them but they, they have a voice of trying to make a change,”he said.
This lawsuit is also seeking at least $75,000 in damages.
Read the lawsuit below: