LOGAN – Two of the victims of convicted rapist Torrey Green are turning their focus to Utah State University. They’re suing the school, claiming the university created a dangerous environment which allowed the attacks to happen.
Earlier this year, Torrey Green was convicted of raping five women and sexually assaulting a sixth while he was a student at USU. He was sentenced to 26 years in prison.
The lawsuit claims victims told school officials about the assaults, but the school didn’t properly investigate those reports. Plus, they say there was a pattern of this happening, as they named two other football players who reportedly assaulted students without the school doing any real investigation.
It also claims the school’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information office discouraged one victim from going to the Title Nine Office, telling her the school would have to investigate whether she wanted it or not.
Even with Green’s conviction, some legal analysts say this lawsuit might not be as easy to win as some people may think.
Attorney Greg Skordas, who is not involved with this lawsuit, says universities and other government agencies have something called, “governmental immunity.”
“It’s a hard burden to overcome,” Skordas says.
This immunity puts more of the onus of proof on the plaintiffs than it would in a lawsuit against a corporation or a private citizen. He also says there is a reason why government groups have this immunity.
He says, “We want our governmental agencies to be able to act without fear of being sued all the time.”
However, he believes the lawsuit could be successful if they prove one key factor.
Skordas says, “What the plaintiffs are going to have to establish, in a case like this, is that the university had some knowledge that this man was a predator and that they had some information that he was on their campus and he was a threat to their students,” adding, “They are responsible if they have reason to know that something like this could happen.”
Officials from USU issued a statement, saying…
“Torrey Green had many victims both at USU and in the community, and the university would like to assist USU students who were victims to reach closure. USU has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the Torrey Green case, and we are continuing to address those university-wide systemic problems.
This lawsuit, however, as filed, relies on countless incorrect assumptions, misrepresents how universities are able to address sexual assaults, and contains a number of outright factual errors.”
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