Former UConn hockey player joins sex assault suit

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Associated Press

Posted on December 20, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 20 at 5:36 PM

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former UConn hockey player who said that she was kicked off the team after reporting that she was raped has joined a federal civil rights lawsuit that alleges the school mishandled allegations of sexual assaults on campus.

The woman alleges in the amended complaint filed Friday that she was raped by a male hockey player in August 2011. She said that after reporting the assault to school officials, she was advised to transfer and kicked off the women's hockey team by her coach, who told her she was not "stable enough" and would "bring the team down."

The woman's attorney, Gloria Allred, alleges officials did not investigate her removal from the team, didn't advise her she could stay in school, and didn't tell her she had the option to call police or pursue a complaint with the school that could lead to a hearing.

"They did not ask for the identity of her rapist," she wrote.

The school declined to comment on the new allegations. University attorney Richard Orr said there has been an internal review of the allegations by the four women that originally brought the suit on Nov. 1 and the school will respond "at the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum."

An email message seeking comment was left with former hockey coach Heather Linstad, who resigned in March after 13 years at UConn.

The hockey player said that UConn eventually paid her medical bills and refunded her tuition after she met with school officials. A school official also wrote her a letter to provide to other colleges, stating that she had been the victim of an "incident" in 2011 and left the university in good standing, according to the lawsuit.

The other four women are among seven students and recent graduates who asked the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights to conduct a federal investigation of UConn in October. The women allege the school failed to protect them and responded to their sexual assault complaints with deliberate indifference or worse.

The lawsuit alleges discrimination based on gender and retaliation in violation of Title IX, which guarantees equal educational opportunities to students at schools that receive federal funds. It seeks unspecified monetary damages and changes in university policies.

The Office for Civil Rights began its Title IX investigation earlier this month. Sanctions could include the loss of federal funds for the school.

The other four women held press conferences to discuss the complaint and the later the lawsuit, but the fifth woman has not taken part in any public events. The Associated Press does not identify victims of alleged sexual assaults.

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