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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
SARA WECKHORST and
CRYSTAL STROUP,
Plaintiffs,
v.
CIV. NO.:

2:16-cv-02255-JAR-GEB

KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY,
an agency of the State of Kansas,
Defendant.
FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND JURY DEMAND
Plaintiffs, Sara Weckhorst and Crystal Stroup, allege the following as their Complaint
against Defendant, Kansas State University (“K-State”):
INTRODUCTION
1.

This is a civil rights case brought by K-State students Sara Weckhorst and Crystal

Stroup. Sara was raped in 2014 by two K-State students during a fraternity event, subsequently
brought back to a K-State fraternity house, and left naked and passed out in a bedroom. Another
K-State student, J.G., found her and, preying on her incapacitation, raped her again. Sara
immediately reported the rapes to K-State, but K-State refused to investigate because the assaults
occurred “off campus.” K-State’s refusal to take action amounted to deliberate indifference to
Sara’s multiple reports of sexual violence committed against her by other students. Despite
months of continued pleading by Sara and her family to investigate the rapes and remove these
rapists from campus, K-State adamantly refused. Sara was left to languish on campus in constant
fear of encountering the two unpunished, emboldened student-assailants – or worse – fear that
either one would rape another, unsuspecting K-State student.

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2.

After K-State gave J.G. a free pass for having raped Sara, he predictably attacked

again, this time raping K-State freshman Crystal Stroup. Crystal lived at University Crossing, an
apartment complex across from campus, where she and her roommates hosted a small gathering
one night in 2015. The young women invited J.G. to their apartment, not knowing or suspecting
they would have any reason to fear for their safety. Late in the evening, Crystal’s roommates left
her in an extremely intoxicated state in J.G.’s care, again not knowing, as only K-State knew, that
Sara had previously reported J.G. for raping her under nearly identical circumstances the previous
year. As was entirely foreseeable, J.G., emboldened by his previously unpunished rape of Sara,
found another perfect opportunity to prey on an incapacitated female student and raped Crystal.
3.

Following Crystal’s police report of the rape, J.G. was arrested and is currently

under criminal prosecution for the rapes of both Crystal and Sara.
4.

K-State’s interpretation of its sexual assault policy – refusing to address sexual

violence at K-State fraternities – deliberately turns its back on one of the most dangerous aspects
of its campus life and conveniently writes fraternity rape out of its responsibility. Because of its
unlawful position and refusal to investigate the rapes of Sara and other fraternity rape victims, KState is under federal investigation by the United States Department of Education. One such
student, Tessa Farmer, has also brought suit against K-State. Just like Sara, Tessa was raped at a
fraternity by a K-State student and when she reported the assault, K-State refused to investigate,
leaving Tessa to remain unprotected and continuing to share a campus with the student-assailant
(2:16-cv-02256-JAR-GEB).
5.

K-State adamantly refused to act after receiving a Sara’s complaint of rape by J.G.,

claiming it lacked the necessary control to address rapes which occurred off-campus.
Nonetheless, K-State eventually took control over J.G. and finally expelled him – exercising the

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precise authority it claimed not to have had in Sara’s case – only after he was arrested and
charged with criminal sexual conduct for having raped Crystal.
6.

K-State had actual knowledge of the risk J.G. posed to female students yet refused

to take action, leaving students like Crystal vulnerable and unable to protect themselves. KState’s refusal to investigate or take disciplinary action against its student for raping Sara left him
dangerously free to prey on other, unknowing students, and ultimately allowed for and caused the
victimization of another K-State student, Crystal.
7.

In addition, K-State has actual knowledge of the specific dangers of fraternities to

women like Sara. In the years 2011-2013, K-State reported 13 forcible sex offenses on-campus
and 10 off-campus, and in 2014 K-State reported 16 rapes, 6 of which occurred off-campus.
According to police reports, many of those off-campus rapes occurred at K-State fraternities. Yet,
K-State continues to refuse to disclose such acts of violence, telling students, prospective
students, parents, and the campus community that Greek life is “safe and fun.”
8.

Plaintiffs bring this action to vindicate their statutory right to equal educational

opportunities, civil rights which K-State has violated and will continue to violate absent relief
from this Court.
JURISDICTION
9.

This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§

1331 and 1343 because this litigation involves matters of federal law including claims made
under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.
10.

This Court also has supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims pursuant to

28 U.S.C. § 1367.

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11.

K-State is located in Kansas, and the relevant facts occurred in Kansas, so venue in

this Court is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b).
12.

Defendant, K-State, is a state institution as defined by K.S.A. § 75-6102(a) and is

subject to liability under the Kansas Tort Claims Act.
PARTIES
13.

Plaintiff Sara Weckhorst is a citizen and resident of the State of Kansas, and at all

times relevant to the misconduct by Defendant she was a student at K-State.
14.

Plaintiff Crystal Stroup is a citizen and resident of the State of Kansas, and at all

times relevant to the misconduct by Defendant she was a student at K-State.
15.

Defendant, K-State, is a public institution of higher education located in

Manhattan, Kansas, and is a recipient of federal financial assistance within the meaning of 20
U.S.C. § 1681(a).
GENERAL ALLEGATIONS
I.

Sara Was Raped by Multiple K-State Students
16.

On April 26, 2014, Sara, then a freshman at K-State, accepted an invitation to a

fraternity event at Pillsbury Crossing, a frequent K-State party location not far from campus. Sara
became extremely incapacitated from consuming a large amount of alcohol and blacked out. Her
last memory was speaking with a new acquaintance, J.F., a fellow K-State student and the
fraternity sober designated driver for the party. Preying on Sara’s incapacitated state, J.F. took
Sara into his truck and raped her while about fifteen K-State students looked on, some taking
video and photographs.
17.

J.F. then transported Sara to the fraternity house, which is situated about a quarter

mile from campus. On the drive, he assaulted her again.

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18.

Once at the fraternity house, J.F. took Sara to the “sleep room,” lined with beds,

and raped her again. When he was finished, he left her there, naked and passed out, and joined
other fraternity members partying downstairs.
19.

Several hours later, at about 10:00 pm, Sara awoke from blackout, not knowing

where she was or how she got there. A man she did not know was raping her from behind. She
later learned the man was J.G., a K-State sophomore and a member of the fraternity. Still very
intoxicated and confused, Sara made her way out of the bed and to a nearby patio. J.G. followed
her to the patio and raped her again.
20.

J.G. informed Sara that two fraternity brothers had penetrated her in the same day.

Sara began to cry uncontrollably, having no recollection of the earlier sexual assaults. She
retrieved her clothing and went home.
21.

Sara later received a text from a K-State student stating “heard you got fucked at

the lake.” Rumors about Sara and, upon information and belief, photographs and videos of her
were posted on social media and widely spread.
22.

The next day Sara began piecing together what had happened. She wanted to

receive medical treatment from the K-State Lafene Health Center, but it was closed. She went to
the Health Center the following day and was provided emergency contraception to prevent
pregnancy from the rapes.
23.

Sara next went to Mercy Regional Health Center where a sexual assault nurse

performed a rape kit to collect evidence of the assaults on her body. The rape kit procedure is an
extremely intense and invasive process which takes hours. The rape kit included an examiner
placing a probe in Sara’s vagina, taking samples off her skin and under her fingernails, combing
through her pubic hair, and taking pictures of her body and vagina. Sara also received antibiotics

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to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases she might have contracted from the
rapes.
II.

K-State Refused to Investigate the Rapes Committed By Its Students Against Sara
24.

Sara sought help from the K-State Women’s Center and the Manhattan Rape Crisis

Center. Mary Todd, the director of Women’s Center, assisted Sara in drafting and filing a
complaint against the two student-assailants with the K-State Affirmative Action Office.
25.

On May 5, 2014, Sara met with K-State investigator Ameerah McBride of the

Office of Affirmative Action, who was charged with enforcing the University’s sexual
misconduct policy. Ms. McBride delivered shocking news: K-State would do nothing about the
rapes or the two student-assailants because the rapes occurred off-campus. Though the studentassailants violated the K-State Student Conduct Code, Sections 3(A)(3), (10), and possibly others,
for which “disciplinary sanctions will be imposed,” K-State refused investigate or take action to
hold the student-assailants responsible, remove them from campus, sanction them, or protect Sara
and the rest of the student population from their presence on campus in any way.
26.

Despite being a stone’s throw from campus and housing only K-State students, the

University-recognized fraternity house where Sara was raped is, like all K-State fraternities,
deemed by K-State to be “off-campus.” Though the University-recognized fraternity hosted the
party at Pillsbury Crossing, the rape occurring there was also ignored under K-State policies.
That the fraternity house director is a K-State instructor also did not matter to K-State.
27.

In delivering this information to Sara, Ms. McBride cited K-State’s policy against

investigating off-campus sexual violence unless it occurs at a University-sponsored event or the
sexual violence relates to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation alleged on-campus.

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28.

Under Title IX and K-State’s own policy, Sara’s report of sexual violence should

have triggered an investigation into the rapes.
29.

The U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, in a 2011 Dear

Colleague Letter, laid out the specific Title IX requirements applicable to sexual violence at
educational institutions, explaining that under Title IX “[s]chools may have an obligation to
respond to student-on-student sexual harassment that initially occurred off school grounds,
outside a school’s education program or activity. If a student files a complaint with the school,
regardless of where the conduct occurred, the school must process the complaint in accordance
with its established procedures. Because students often experience the continuing effects of offcampus sexual harassment in the educational setting, schools should consider the effects of the
off-campus conduct when evaluating whether there is a hostile environment on campus.”
30.

Despite Sara reporting to K-State the continuing effects of the rapes in the

educational setting, including her fear of encountering the student-assailants on campus, K-State
failed to consider those effects in evaluating the hostile environment Sara suffered and continued
to refuse to investigate the assaults under its off-campus policy.
31.

Under K-State’s own definition, the rapes of Sara were covered by the K-State

policy. K-State defines “harassment” in the “academic environment” as conduct toward a person,
based on sex, that “has the purpose and effect” of “creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive
educational environment for the person” or “unreasonably interfering with the academic
performance or participation in any university-sponsored activity of the person;” or “threatening
the academic opportunities of the person” and is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it alters the
terms, conditions, or privileges of the person’s academic opportunities or participation in
university-sponsored activities.

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32.

The sexual violence committed by two K-State students against Sara placed her at

risk and in constant fear of encountering the student-assailants on campus. This amounted to an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment which unreasonably interfered with
her academic performance and participation in her education, threatening Sara’s academic
opportunities.
33.

K-State was well aware of, and even investigated, the harassing and retaliatory

posts about Sara on social media. This internet harassment should have triggered an investigation
into Sara’s complaints of rape and disciplinary proceedings for the student-assailants. The sexual
violence related directly to the internet harassment, which had “the purpose and effect of creating
an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment” for Sara, “threatening the
academic opportunities” for Sara, and was “sufficiently severe or pervasive” that it altered Sara’s
academic opportunities.
34.

Further, upon information and belief, K-State has in other circumstances

investigated and taken action in off-campus reports of sexual assaults, including a sexual assault
by a K-State basketball player.
35.

Sara was devastated that K-State refused to even investigate the rapes she suffered

at the hands of two of its students with whom she shared the campus. Upon leaving the K-State
Office of Affirmative Action, she headed to Riley County Police Department to report the rapes.
36.

Shortly after Ms. McBride informed Sara that K-State would not take any action

on her behalf, Ms. McBride called the student-assailants to inform them Sara had filed complaints
against them for rape. Ms. McBride should not have done this, as she had already told Sara KState would not investigate the rapes. Doing so invaded Sara’s privacy rights, protected by
Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). Not only did Ms. McBride refuse to act

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on Sara’s behalf, she egregiously exposed Sara to potential retaliation, compromised her safety,
placed her in fear, and undermined the police investigation by tipping off the student-assailants
and giving them an opportunity to coordinate their stories.
37.

Without action by K-State, Sara was forced to attend school alongside the two

student-assailants, living in constant hypervigilance and dread, fearing she would encounter her
attackers at any time. She hid in her dormitory, stopped going to classes, and her grades suffered
dramatically. She was forced to drop her math class.
38.

For safety, K-State suggested Sara avail herself of the “Wildcat Walks,” where

fellow students accompany students as they walk around campus, “SafeRide,” where fellow
students drive students home on weekends, and the telephone number for campus police. Under
this suggestion, the burden was placed on Sara to protect herself. Sara could have students serve
as bodyguards or call the police for help coping with the daily risk of encountering the two
student-assailants, rather than have K-State investigate the perpetrators and take corrective action
against them.
39.

Not yet ready to accept K-State’s refusal to investigate multiple rapes by multiple

students, Sara next met with Karen Low, the Assistant Dean for the Office of Student Life, and
Heather Reed, the Associate Dean for the Office of Student Life. The Deans again told Sara they
considered the rapes to have occurred off-campus and would not investigate.
40.

However, both Deans told Sara the fraternity was already on probation for

previous misconduct and if she filed a report about the alcohol present at their parties, K-State
would be able to suspend the chapter.
41.

Sara was shocked to learn K-State had a process by which the chapter could be

punished for alcohol but not for fraternity members who commit rape against other students.

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42.

At the Deans’ request, Sara filed an anonymous report about the presence of

alcohol at the fraternity party. In response, the Dean of Student Life, Pat Bosco, approved KState’s Interfraternity Council’s (“IFC”) decision to suspend the fraternity for the alcohol at the
party at which Sara had been raped.
43.

On May 21, 2014, Ms. McBride informed Sara that K-State would investigate

online comments about Sara by unidentified individuals on social media which occurred
following the rapes. However, such investigation would not lead to the sanction, expulsion, or
any accountability of the two student-assailants.
44.

In response, Sara and her parents made very clear to K-State their dismay that K-

State refused to respond to the rapes and their serious concern about Sara’s safety on campus and
ability to access her education. Sara wrote to Ms. McBride:
This has been a confusing and frustrating process since the moment I stepped into
your Affirmative Action Office. At our first meeting I made it very clear that I
was raped three times and that it was by two of my fellow Kansas State
University students. [J.F.], designated driver of the day and member of [the
fraternity] raped me quite publicly at Pillsbury Crossing. This designated driver
([J.F.]) was well aware that I had been drinking and knew I was unable to give
consent. He relocated me (again without my ability to give consent) to his
[fraternity] house. Where he raped me again (and, yes, again without my
consent). When he was finished with me, he relocated me to [the fraternity’s]
sleeping room where another individual ([J.G.]) raped me. And that was how I
woke up/came to…I was being raped again (and I did NOT nor was I able to give
consent). It was [J.G.]/rapist #2 who told me I had already been raped twice by
[J.F.]/rapist #1. Even so, you told me that you would not investigate ANY of this.
What you WOULD, however, investigate was sexual harassment that occurred
after these THREE SEXUAL ASSAULTS because Kansas State wants to hide
behind a vague policy that it all took place off campus. How is it that a fraternity
house is off campus but KSU can charge them with drinking violations (also not a
university sponsored function) but not raping me? And then have the audacity to
ask me to file a report turning them in for drinking but not raping me.
I told you at our first meeting that it was very difficult for me to be fully engaged
in classes knowing what people are saying and thinking about me as everything
has been put out on the yik-yak app and various forms of social media. I told you
that many people were calling me and texting me wanting to know what

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happened. I told you that the yik-yak app was most damaging but since that was
an anonymous app, it was difficult to say who was behind the awful stories and
harassment and possible video of the Pillsbury Crossing rape by [J.F.]. My
mother sat in this same meeting and questioned why will you not go after the acts
of sexual violence and assault by your students and only investigate sexual
harassment that these two rapists may or may not be a part of. Again, you
couched all your terms in that these three rapes happened off campus and K-State
will do NOTHING therefore to eliminate these individuals from campus. And,
yet the very day of our first meeting, you contact them and tell them charges have
been filed against them. I completely FAIL TO UNDERSTAND why based on
what I shared with you at this meeting why you felt it necessary to tell them
charges were filed. What were your charges based on? If you can’t go after
them for raping me THREE times, what did you feel was going to be
accomplished by talking with them about an anonymous yik-yak app and
providing them my written statement before giving the police a chance to
criminally investigate them?
Shortly thereafter you told Mary Todd that you had turned this entire situation
over to university legal counsel and were waiting on direction from them and
meanwhile my mother spoke with Heather Reed who told my mother that the
investigation had ceased completely. Do you understand my confusion, not to
mention my fear in being on campus with these men while trying to prepare for
and take finals? No one from the University has once reached out to keep us
informed. If we didn’t call, we didn’t hear FROM ANYONE.
Based on my experience to date, I feel like I have done my best to follow this
process in the correct way and it has been a complete miscarriage on the part of
AAO and K-State. What more can I supply only to have it too damage my selfesteem, my collegiate endeavors, my safety on campus, my belief in justice?
You were provided with a complaint form filed by Mary Todd with an addendum
reporting the second rape by [J.F.]. You have a statement via mandatory reporter.
I fully understand why victims of crimes such as this do not come forward. They
are (as I am) victimized again and again by institutions that refuse to do the right
thing even when our nation is screaming loud and clear that sweeping these
sexual violent crimes under the carpet and excusing these offenders must stop. It
is my sincere hope that Kansas State University’s investigation leads to [J.F.] and
[J.G.]’s permanent expulsion for my safety and that of all female K-State
students.
45.

Sara’s parents provided a similar message to Ms. McBride:

Our daughter’s letter and all of her statements have consistently detailed the
ongoing issues of discrimination and humiliation resulting from the sexual
assaults and the impact on her campus safety and wellbeing. . . [W]e have
consistently asked for an investigation and our expectations have not changed.

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The fact that you can address off campus alcohol related behaviors with a
fraternity, but cannot address a rape culture by that same fraternity is appalling.
Our expectations for a University investigation and support for our daughter and
future victims remains. Sara has been incredibly brave and forthcoming with her
experience and our family remains committed to justice and safety. . . Let there
be no misunderstanding, our expectations remain that the University has both a
moral and legal obligation to take action to protect Sara’s right to a safe
educational environment and to ensure the wellbeing of future students.
***
[W]e find it incredibly condescending and insulting that you closed your May 21
letter indicating that you value Sara’s presence at KSU and your commitment to
maintaining an environment free of harassment. Your limited and untimely
actions do not support this statement at all and we are left hoping that the
University might actually learn from this experience so that other families do not
have to experience the added trauma of an ineffective University response.
46.

Over the months following the assaults, Sara and her family continued to plead

with K-State to investigate the rapes. Again and again, K-State refused.
47.

On June 5, 2014, Sara, accompanied by her family, drove seven hours to return to

campus to meet with Dean Low, Scott Jones, Assistant Dean, Office of Student Life, and Roberto
Malenado-Franzen, Interim Director, Affirmative Action Office. Sara and her family again
begged K-State to investigate the rapes, expressing the extraordinary toll the assaults and KState’s refusal to investigate had taken on Sara’s mental health, education, wellbeing, and selfworth. They explained the grave security and safety concerns she had about spending the next
two years on campus with the unpunished, perhaps emboldened, student-assailants. In response,
the K-State officials again told Sara that because this was an off-campus rape, nothing could be
done.
48.

In response to K-State’s refusal to acknowledge the impact of the assaults on

Sara’s education, Sara’s mother read and gave the Deans a letter describing how the rapes “bleed

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over” to make Sara’s campus experience hostile environment, profoundly impacting her
education, safety, and wellbeing:
This “bleed over” is all over everything… her safety, her self-worth, her ability to
fairly seek an education. This “bleed over” has seeped all over your campus and it
has seeped so deep into her mind and soul, I do not know if she will ever be able to
recover. This will continue to affect our daughter for the rest of her life. No
diplomacy or glad-handing done here today will ever band-aid what has been done
by this facility of higher education. How does “bleed over” stop if you allow [J.F.]
and [J.G.] to stay on campus right along side Sara?
49.

After the meeting, without permission, warning, informing, or obtaining Sara’s

consent, Dean Scott pulled language from an email Sara had written to K-State voicing her
frustration with the University’s refusal to investigate the rapes, put her words into a complaint,
attached her name to it, and submitted it to the K-State Office of Greek Affairs. Doing so
contributed to and worsened the hostile environment Sara suffered at K-State. The complaint was
a superficial cover to give an appearance of action. Greek Affairs did not have jurisdiction to
punish the student-assailants, only the fraternity. Dean Scott, in violation of Sara’s rights
guaranteed under FERPA, released Sara’s highly sensitive, private information, including her full
name and a detailed description of the multiple rapes, to her student-peers on the IFC board
without any possible benefit to Sara. This shattered any remaining sense of privacy, and Sara has
since lived day-to-day not knowing who she might encounter who knows the details about the
nightmare she endured.
50.

Sara reported the rapes to K-State because she wanted the assailants to be held

accountable, she wanted to protect her education, and she did not want what was done to her to be
done to anyone else. Despite Sara’s pleas to K-State to take action against the assailants, K-State
took no action and, as a result, her worst nightmare occurred. J.G. raped another K-State student,
in nearly the identical manner in which he had raped her.

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III.

After K-State Refused to Investigate J.G. for Raping Sara, he Raped a Second KState Student, Crystal Stroup, Under Nearly Identical Circumstances
51.

On October 6, 2015, during her freshman year at K-State, Crystal and her

roommates, all K-State students, had a small gathering at their University Crossing apartment at
2215 College Avenue, across the street from campus. University Crossing is a major rental
facility for K-State students, housing hundreds of them. University Crossing matches students
looking to live together based on shared interests, majors, etc., and Crystal was matched with
three roommates including Tessa Farmer. The apartment had shuttles to and from the center of
campus. On the night of October 6, 2015, Tessa did not join the gathering and was asleep in her
room. J.G., the student who previously raped Sara, lived in University Crossing as well.
52.

Crystal and her roommates, having no idea that J.G. had raped Sara or that Sara

had reported the assault to K-State, invited him to join the gathering. Crystal became extremely
intoxicated. Crystal’s roommates were concerned about her condition and asked J.G. to watch
over her while they left the apartment to get food. They exchanged phone numbers with him so
he could contact them if something serious happened to Crystal. Once alone in the apartment,
J.G. went into Crystal’s bedroom and raped her.
53.

Crystal was traumatized from the rape. The day following the rape, she went to

the hospital and underwent a rape kit and reported the rape to the police.
54.

Crystal learned of K-State’s stance against investigating or taking any action

against students raping other students if the assaults occurred off-campus. This dissuaded her
from immediately reporting to K-State. Hence, she did not report the rape to K-State for many
months, during which time she suffered through numerous actual and threatened direct contacts
with J.G. on K-State’s campus, in classroom buildings, and traveling to and from campus.

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55.

Crystal struggled to stay in school, and her academic performance plummeted. K-

State placed Crystal on academic probation. Desperate for help, Crystal went to the K-State
Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (“CARE;” formerly the Women’s Center).
56.

At CARE, Crystal reported that she had been raped by a K-State student and told

the office J.G.’s name. She explained that she regularly encountered J.G. at K-State, on her way
to and from school, on campus, in class buildings, and in the student union. She explained that
these encounters were terrifying, led to panic attacks, and had caused her to miss many classes or
leave them early in order to avoid him. She explained that her grades were severely negatively
impacted by the assault and the enhanced trauma she suffered by seeing him repeatedly at KState.
57.

In response, the CARE office did not inform Crystal that another student, Sara, had

also reported to that same office that J.G. had raped her the previous year. The CARE office
failed or refused to mention to Crystal K-State’s sexual misconduct policy or Title IX and did not
refer her to a Title IX coordinator. They failed or refused to tell Crystal about her option to file a
complaint against the student-assailant with the K-State Office of Institutional Equity (“OIE”),
which allegedly investigates sexual assault, or that OIE could investigate what happened and
potentially have J.G. removed (for example by suspension or expulsion) from K-State. Crystal
was not offered a no-contact order. Under Title IX and K-State’s own policy, Crystal’s report of
sexual violence should have triggered an investigation into the rape.
58.

Crystal struggled to complete the semester, while continuing to face J.G.’s

presence at K-State. Her life and academics so decimated by her anxiety and fear of sharing her
campus with the student who raped her, Crystal was unable to return to K-State for her
sophomore year.

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59.

K-State knew, or in the absence of deliberate indifference, recklessness, and

negligence should have known, that J.G.’s presence on campus presented a foreseeable,
dangerous risk to other K-State women, including Crystal.
IV.

Criminal Charges Against J.G. for Raping Crystal and Sara
60.

In July 2016, J.G. was arrested for raping Crystal. He was charged and following a

preliminary hearing on October 21, 2016, bound over on the following felony charges for having
raped both Sara and Crystal:
COUNT 1: That on the 6th day of October, 2015, in Riley County, Kansas,
[J.G.], did unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have sexual intercourse with
[Crystal Stroup], who was incapable of giving consent because of the effect of
any alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was
known by, or was reasonably apparent to the defendant. In violation of K.S.A.
21-5503(a)(2), Rape, a severity level 1 person felony. (Penalty: K.S.A. 21-6804,
21-6807 & 21-6611)
COUNT 2: That on the 6th day of October, 2015, in Riley County, Kansas,
[J.G.], did unlawfully and feloniously engage in sodomy with [Crystal Stroup],
who was incapable of giving consent because of the effect of any alcoholic liquor,
narcotic, drug or other substance, and her condition was known by, or was
reasonably apparent to, the defendant. In violation of K.S.A. 21-5504(b)(3)(C)
Aggravated Criminal Sodomy, a severity level 1 person felony. (Penalty: K.S.A.
21-6804, 21-6807 & 21-6611)
COUNT 3: That on the 26th day of April, 2014, in Riley County, Kansas, [J.G.],
then and there being present did unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have
sexual intercourse with [Sara Weckhorst], which was done without the consent of
[Sara Weckhorst] while she was unconscious or physically powerless. In
violation of K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-5503(a)(1)(B), Rape, a severity level 1 person
felony. (Penalty: K.S.A. 2013 Supp. 21-6804, 21-6807 & 21-6611)
OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE:
That on the 26th day of April, 2014, in Riley County, Kansas, [J.G.], did
unlawfully, feloniously and knowingly have sexual intercourse with [Sara
Weckhorst], who was incapable of giving consent because of the effect of any
alcoholic liquor, narcotic, drug or other substance, which condition was known
by, or was reasonably apparent to the defendant. In violation of K.S.A. 215503(a)(2), Rape, a severity level 1 person felony. (Penalty: K.S.A. 21-6804, 216807 & 21-6611)

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V.

K-State Did Exercise Control over J.G. for Off-Campus Rape
61.

In July 2016, K-State was informed that criminal charges would be brought against

J.G. At the time, J.G. was a current K-State student enrolled in courses for the fall 2016 semester.
Although K-State had already been on notice and informed that J.G. had raped both Sara and
Crystal, only once J.G. had been arrested did K-State take any corrective action.
62.

K-State, having learned that its student J.G. was arrested, upon information and

belief, engaged in a threat assessment of J.G. and expelled him from campus. J.G. left Manhattan
and now lives with his parents, more than 100 miles from K-State, and far from locations where
he threatens the safety of K-State students. Had K-State investigated Sara’s complaints of rape
against J.G., he would have been removed from campus, moved away from the area as he did
after eventually being expelled by K-State, and prevented from causing physical and emotional
harm to Crystal.
VI.

K-State Knew of the Danger J.G. Posed to Students like Crystal and its Refusal to
Take any Action after he Raped Sara Exacerbated that Danger
63.

K-State has direct access to and knowledge of extensive research, studies, and

other credible information establishing the dangers sexual assault offenders, such as J.G., pose to
others by repeating their offenses.
64.

For example, in April 2015, K-State retained David Lisak, a “nationally

recognized forensic consultant, trainer and public speaker,” to train and facilitate action planning
with its “students, faculty, staff and invested community members about sexual assault offender
behavior and the neurobiology of trauma.” A 2002 study by David Lisak and Paul Miller found
that while only about 6% of college men interviewed had attempted or successfully raped
someone, most of those who had were repeat offenders, with each committing an average 5.8
rapes apiece. Dr. Lisak, educators, health care providers, government officials and other

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professionals have authored articles, dissertations, created audio, visual and other training
materials, and otherwise directly and repeatedly informed the higher education community,
including K-State, about the risks posed to women on campus by students who have raped others
without suffering consequences.
65.

Moreover, K-State receives allegations and complaints regarding sexual violence

on a confidential basis, pursuant to its own policies, state law, and FERPA. Hence, K-State has
exclusive, superior knowledge of the risks facing students from sexual predators, such as J.G. KState students, like Crystal, as a matter of necessity and because of K-State’s practices, rely upon
K-State to timely and reasonably act with respect to such information to protect them from risks
that are known to K-State but unknown to students.
66.

K-State knew of Sara’s disturbing report of rape by J.G. and did nothing to

decrease the substantial and foreseeable risk he posed to other female students. K-State failed to
take corrective action against him, investigate his conduct, warn students about the risk he posed,
prevent him from accessing other students, remove him from the student body, or conduct a threat
assessment of his predatory behavior. Worse yet, K-State informed J.G. of the rape report against
him and by then failing to take any corrective action, implicitly condoned his conduct as
acceptable. Through its inaction, K-State communicated to J.G. that if he raped other students
off-campus he could do so with impunity – an exemption from sanction and freedom from the
serious injurious consequences of his sexual misconduct.
VII.

K-State’s Own Employees Opposed K-State’s Refusal to Investigate Off-Campus
Rape Victims
67.

Upon information and belief, several K-State employees disagreed with K-State’s

decision not to investigate sexual assaults at fraternities and expressed to University officials their
concern that off-campus rape equally affects a student’s on-campus experience. University

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officials told employees that because there is so much misconduct at fraternities, K-State had
taken the position to do its best not to investigate or adjudicate that misconduct, including reports
of rape, purposely attempting to maintain a chasm between K-State and incidents that happen at
its recognized fraternities.
68.

For example, one such employee, Danielle Dempsey-Swopes, Senior Investigator

at K-State’s Office of Institutional Equity, was so alarmed by K-State’s policy that she sent the
following complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights to express her
serious concerns. Specifically, she felt compelled to contact OCR after K-State’s Title IX
coordinator instructed her to “stall” in response Tessa Farmer’s report of rape by a K-State
student at a K-State fraternity house. Her complaint stated:
I am writing to express my concern regarding the response to complaints of
sexual assault at Kansas State University. I request that this letter be accepted as
my formal complaint. Although I am making my identity known to you, I ask
that you notify me before you share my identity with KSU, because I have seen
retaliatory conduct against others.
I began working as a Senior Investigator at KSU on January 5, 2015. I was the
only trained investigator at KSU from January until May, 2015. I replaced a
single investigator who worked at KSU for approximately one year before leaving
because she felt the university has not devoted adequate staff or resources to
adequately respond to complaints.
I believe that the university has engaged in deliberate indifference towards
complaints of sexual assault. The University has provided excellent resources for
students, and has recently worked to improve and increase access to resources.
However, the administrative response to complaints has been a significant failureincluding instructions that "stall" an investigation - which compels me to write to
you.
As you are aware, the General Counsel at KSU feels strongly that assault
occurring off campus is not the responsibility of the University and therefore,
does not require investigation. Each time I have received off-campus assault
complaints, the general counsel staff informed me that I should not investigate,
that the university has no Title IX obligation regarding off campus occurrences
where the university has no control, and that I would extend the liability of the
university too far. Most importantly they claim, such complaints do not fall

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within the jurisdiction of the university policy unless they are related to an
occurrence of discrimination on campus. Fraternity and Sorority houses, although
affiliated with the university, are considered off-campus private property by KSU
counsel and administrators.
On Monday, August 24, 2015, I received a complaint of sexual assault from a
woman who alleged she was assaulted at a KSU fraternity house. My recently
hired supervisor, Travis Gill, Director of Institutional Equity and University Title
IX Coordinator directed me to, "stall" and to deliberately delay, (for at least a
week and as long as possible) taking any action in response to the report. On
Wednesday, August 27, 2015, Mr. Gill came to my office upset because he
believed I had begun work on the August 24 report. He reiterated that he wanted
me to continue to "stall and delay any investigatory action in response" and
specifically stated that I should not schedule any meetings with the administrative
review team that would ordinarily investigate complaints.
Through my significant training and experience, I know that the OCR guidance
indicates that university's should investigate any sexual assault (reported or
unreported) promptly and thoroughly to determine whether there is any impact on
the student's education. I understand that the guidance indicates we are to be
diligent about our response to students without regard to where the assault occurs.
We owe a responsibility to the students to make sure they are safe on campus,
even if they experience sexual violence off campus.
I have repeatedly voiced my opinion that I believe KSU should follow OCR
guidance very closely as the best practice for compliance with Title IX. As a
result, I have been marginalized and shunned. The general counsel no longer
communicates with me regarding sexual assault. Given the position of the
general counsel and the administrative leadership's resistance to enforcement, it is
extremely difficult to comply with our Title IX obligations at KSU. It is my hope
that providing this letter to you will allow the complaint made on August 24, to be
fully addressed very soon. My conscience will not allow me to continue to ignore
the needs of the students or the responsibility of my role. If you require that I
submit a specific complaint form, please advise me.
Sincerely,
Danielle Dempsey-Swopes
Senior Investigator
Office of Institutional Equity
Kansas State University
69.

K-State’s position, described by this Senior Investigator as “assault

occurring off campus is not the responsibility of the University and therefore, does not
require investigation” can fairly be described in short as “off-campus, not our problem.”

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VIII. K-State Knew of the Danger Posed to Students, such as Sara, in Fraternity Houses
70.

By establishing the boundaries of its campus to not include fraternity houses, and

drafting its sexual assault policies to limit K-State’s enforcement of those policies only to
incidents which occur on-campus, K-State made an already precarious situation even more
hazardous.
71.

As K-State is aware, extensive research, literature, and other credible information

establish the danger posed by fraternities. Statistics, insurance claims analyses, studies and
reports, and widely known incidents of catastrophic injury, rape, and death have for decades
demonstrated the foreseeable risk of dangerous injury, sexual assault, and death at fraternities.
72.

In the late 1980s, the Fraternity Insurance Purchasing Group, a consortium of

Greek organizations organized to coordinate risk management strategies, widely published that
“fraternities and sororities were ranked by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners
as the sixth-worst risk for insurance companies – just behind hazardous waste disposal companies
and asbestos contractors.”
73.

A 2007 peer-reviewed research study by John Foubert, Johnathan Newberry, and

Jerry Tatum published in the NASPA journal found that fraternity men are three times more likely
to commit rape than non-fraternity men on campus. A 2006 study, A Prospective Analysis of
Sexual Assault Perpetration: Risk Factors Related to Perpetrator Behavior, published in the
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, came to the same result. A 2000 Department of Justice
Report, The Sexual Victimization of College Women, recognized that 10.3 percent of campus
rapes occur in a fraternity house.

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74.

A 2011 article published in The Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association

of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors reviewed research indicating that the disproportionate amount of
rape committed by fraternity members was related to a fraternity culture which encourages sexual
aggression by promoting views which support female subservience, male dominance, and rapesupportive attitudes. Sorority women, like Sara, are nearly three and half times more likely to be
raped or to have experienced attempted rape that the general student population according to a
study from the University of Oregon.
75.

Beyond the institutional research, K-State had firsthand knowledge of the dangers

of fraternities since such information was annually gathered and compiled by K-State for its
campus crime statistics reporting. In the years 2011-2013, K-State reported 13 forcible sex
offenses on-campus and 10 off-campus, and in 2014 K-State reported 16 rapes, 6 of which
occurred off-campus. According to police reports, many of the off-campus rapes and forcible sex
offenses occurred in fraternity houses.
76.

Police reports indicate at least 11 forcible rapes were perpetrated at K-State

fraternities between 2012 and the present. Given the statistically low number of rapes reported to
the police, it is safe to assume the actual number is significantly higher. Police reports also
indicate domestic violence occurred at the fraternity house where Sara was raped prior to her
assaults, including a highly dangerous incident in which the perpetrator strangled and punched his
girlfriend. Upon information and belief, at least two other students were raped at K-State
fraternities by K-State students, reported the assaults to K-State, and K-State refused to
investigate their assaults because they occurred off-campus.
77.

K-State contracted with Rankin & Associates Consulting to conduct a campus-

wide climate assessment, which surveyed students about their experiences of unwanted sexual

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contact. 198 of the students responding to the survey “indicated that they had experienced
unwanted sexual contact while a member of the Kansas State University community.” Of those,
141, over 70 percent, indicated the conduct occurred off campus. According to the report, a
“substantial number” of these instances occurred at fraternity parties and in apartments.
78.

The risk posed by the fraternity to women like Sara was real, and the environment

of this particular chapter is shockingly abhorrent, evidenced by its tolerance and, likely,
encouragement of members who posted the following on social media:
a.

A photograph of naked member, his genitals covered only the barrel of a

b.

A photograph of a woman’s breasts, scantily clad by a bra, with “RUSH

rifle;

[fraternity]” and “FUCKPROBATION” written across her breasts;
c.

“Getting a 1.7 gpa with a 1.7 BAC….”

d.

“24/7 Open door. 2 free beers. American traditions. …

#FatandSkinnygirlsWELCOME…”
e.

A photo of President Obama in a noose, with the comment, “were all

thinkin it.”
f.

“Congratulations Syria! Your now top of my hate list! After…#obama

#terrorists #niggers #mexicans #liberals #chicks #nontobaccousers”
g.

“How would someone say, ‘come over and fuck me?’ #trynottobefat”

h.

“Damn KState chinks walking around in Eskimo jackets like its cold!

Throw in a dip and warm up! Or go back to Ching Chong Land!”
i.

“i bet id fuck the ifcs presidents girlfriend if i had the chance… oh wait hes

probably such a chach he doesnt have one or is gay.”

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j.

“‘Got it in’ In chapter room last night –guess you say that’s going out with

a bang #last shacker of [fraternity].”
IX.

Despite K-State’s Knowledge of the Dangers Present in its Fraternities, K-State
Continues to Present Misleading Representation of its Greek System
79.

K-State is not only deliberately indifferent to actual knowledge of sexual violence

committed against its own students at K-State’s many fraternity houses, but it also has failed to
warn or even accurately disclose such violence to students and parents, including the Weckhorsts,
or the extreme risks associated with fraternities. In promoting K-State to potential students by
speaking about the Greek Community and its relationship with K-State, K-State declares:
The Greek community at Kansas State University has been in existence since
1913, with a continuing tradition of excellence. Through the years we have been
a community that fosters academic excellence, leadership ability, philanthropic
services, and active contributions to both the campus and Manhattan
communities. Our Greek community consists of 17 sororities and 28 fraternities,
with a total membership of almost 4,000 undergraduate students. While each
organization maintains its own activities, traditions, and national affiliations, each
is founded on similar principles of scholarship, leadership, community service,
and lifelong friendship.
80.

K-State further endorses fraternities and sororities to the parents of potential

students giving the appearance of association and safety:
The Greek experience at K-State provides a safe and fun way to maximize the
college experience. Your son or daughter will also find personal growth and
development extending far beyond his or her years on campus.
81.

K-State boasts that 21% of the undergraduate student population is affiliated with

its fraternities and sororities. K-State embraces fraternities as integral to the K-State community
experience in its promotional materials. Greek Life and K-State are inextricably and intimately
tied together. The Office of Greek Affairs is located in the K-State Student Union, K-State hosts
an extensive Greek Affairs website (www.k-state.edu/fsl; FSL is short for “Fraternity and
Sorority Life”), and K-State employs five individuals as the Greek Affairs staff. The Greek

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Affairs office is responsible for a number of functions to support fraternities and sororities
including administrative assistance, advisory responsibilities, education and development, serving
as a liaison to chapter presidents, regular meeting with chapters, and chapter assessments.
82.

K-State is aware of many other incidents of fraternity misconduct and neglected to

disclose that information to students, like Sara and Crystal, so it could protect itself as an
institution. Yet, from the promotional information K-State chooses to disclose, all appears safe in
K-State fraternity houses.
83.

Upon information and belief, K-State does not disclose reports of rape at its

fraternity houses to the associated national fraternity, including failing to disclose to the national
fraternity in this case Sara’s report of rape by its members in its K-State chapter house. This
failure to disclose prevents the national fraternity and its local alumni association from potentially
intervening and assisting K-State in making its fraternity houses safe.
84.

K-State gives no indication of sexual violence against K-State students at its

fraternities, of which it has actual knowledge, including prior reports from the fraternity where
Sara was raped. K-State’s current description of the status of the fraternity does not even hint at
Sara’s reports of rape at its house, events, by its members, or even that anything dangerous
occurred, stating only that the “fraternity has lost recognition as a K-State Interfraternity Council
member, and has been suspended from campus. If you are interested in joining this fraternity,
please be aware that it is not currently recognized by the university until August 1, 2018.”
X.

K-State Failed to Regulate or Act to Make Fraternities Safe for Students
85.

Fraternities are student organizations, boasted by K-State as an integral part of its

campus experience and highlighted as part of its self-promotion. K-State has the authority and
ability to regulate fraternity houses (e.g. make such premises safe), as demonstrated by its rules

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for regulating parties and certain other activities at fraternity houses and events, including
soliciting a report from Sara about the presence of alcohol at the party where she was raped,
specifically in order to impose discipline.
86.

Despite its authority to supervise and regulate, instead K-State delegates

management of these exceptionally dangerous entities to untrained students. K-State’s event
registration form explicitly leaves the chapter with “full responsibility” for the enforcement of
federal, state, and city law, IFC policies, including risk management policies, the regulation of
individuals’ behavior, and taking corrective action to ensure member and guest safety.
87.

K-State requires that fraternities use the services of a K-State faculty/staff member

to serve as a formal advisor to fraternities concerning, among other things, risk management and
how to prepare for and handle circumstances if “Something Bad Happens.” K-State expends
considerable resources and staff in undertaking to advance and manage its Greek community and
members, including with respect to sexual violence and student safety. K-State has developed
policies pursuant to which it works directly with the IFC and Panhellenic Council leaders to
provide fraternity members with learning opportunities for social responsibility to create safe
environments for fraternity members and guests and develop risk management practices. K-State
undertakes such actions in conjunction with the international or national policies of the fraternities
that it permits to operate at K-State. K-State’s policy of creating safe environments and risk
management practices includes prohibiting sexual violence and/or harassment of any nature,
including at events “sponsored by a chapter or [which] includes a significant number of chapter
members taking place at a chapter house or any location associated with the fraternity.” Sara was
raped and subjected to sexual violence at such an event and again later in a fraternity house
following the event.

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88.

Sara and Crystal’s payments of tuition and other expenses to K-State contributed

to K-State’s extensive undertakings to make the K-State reasonably safe for them, as alleged
herein.
89.

K-State and its fraternities have exclusive knowledge of the risks such fraternities

and their self-managed housing have to the general student population, including Sara and
Crystal. Despite the extreme and known dangers posed by fraternities, K-State has created a
working relationship with fraternity houses that does not require an active, trained presence of
supervisors.
90.

Upon information and belief, K-State campus police do not have the same access

to the fraternity houses as to other student housing, despite K-State’s representation that its police
officers routinely patrol fraternities and sororities.
91.

Despite the safety risks posed by fraternities, the only outside supervision imposed

by K-State is a Faculty/Staff Advisor, encouraged to attend at least two chapter meetings a year.
92.

The lack of regulation of K-State fraternities is juxtaposed with the supervision

provided by the Office of Housing and Dining Services to promote safety and protect students in
campus housing. In K-State residence halls, a full-time Resident Assistant (“RA”) lives on each
floor and is responsible for informing residents of policies and regulations and responding to
behavior in violation of those policies and regulations. Community Assistance staff the front
desks 24 hours a day. Door Assistants check the identification of those entering the building and
register guests. A Residential Life Coordinator, a professional with a master’s degree, lives onsite
and is responsible for supervision and training RAs.
93.

K-State allows fraternities to reap significant financial benefit by endorsing them

with University recognition. K-State does not require that any of this money be used to keep the

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premises or guests safe. Instead, fraternities are allowed to collect rent and dues from their
members without investing into housing standards, supervision, or safety. If the fraternity had a
professional, full-time, live-in Residential Life Coordinator, Community Assistant, Door
Assistant, and floor-by-floor RAs responsible for ensuring safety and adherence to K-State policy,
K-State rules and community standards would have more likely been upheld on April 26, 2014,
preventing the rapes of Sara at the fraternity house. Any one of these supervisors could have seen
and prevented an underage, black-out-intoxicated individual from being placed naked in the
house’s “sleep room” where she subsequently was raped by a K-State student. Furthermore, the
student-assailants would likely not have felt entitled to violate sexual misconduct policies so
blatantly.
94.

Instead K-State allows its fraternities free rein in return for, upon information and

belief, some form of benefit to K-State.
95.

Despite the obvious and known dangers of unsupervised fraternity housing, and

Sara’s report of multiple rapes at the fraternity house, K-State continues to promote its Greek
community as “a safe and fun way to maximize the college experience.”
96.

K-State’s glowing endorsement and portrayal of fraternities is all the more

frightening when compared to its well-established practice against investigating, applying its
rules to, or providing security to prevent the most extreme – and entirely predictable – fraternity
dangers.
97.

K-State’s practice of willful inaction in response to fraternity rape at K-State

endangers K-State students by failing to remove predators from campus, failing to alert its
students to known dangers, and failing to remedy ongoing hostile environments for victims whose
educational access is threatened and impaired by their assailants co-attending K-State.

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98.

K-State’s failure to warn and protect Sara and Crystal, coupled with its refusal to

respond to fraternity sexual violence, licensed J.G. to rape Sara with impunity and, further
emboldened by K-State’s inaction, to rape Crystal – an assault which was entirely foreseeable and
preventable.
XI.

K-State’s Egregious Conduct and Failures Severely Damaged Sara and Crystal
99.

Sara did everything sexual assault victims are encouraged to do. She promptly

sought help at the local rape crisis center and K-State’s Women’s Center. She filed a Title IX
complaint with K-State. She reported the rapes to the police. She sought emergency medical
care. She endured an intrusive rape kit. Despite this, K-State turned its back on her. Sara wants
to continue her K-State education, but doing so means facing emboldened student-assailants who
know K-State will protect them, rather than the victims of their attacks.
100.

After months of being stonewalled by K-State, Sara filed a complaint with the

Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. In response, the federal government opened a
Title IX investigation into K-State, and that investigation is ongoing. Nearly two years after the
rapes, the student-assailants remained on campus, and K-State has not investigated or taken any
meaningful actions to protect Sara or remedy the overtly hostile environment.
101.

Since the multiple, brutal rapes by her fellow students and K-State’s institutional

betrayal, Sara lost her sense of security. She is always afraid, apprehensive, and hyper-alert, oncampus and off. Every man who passes her on the sidewalk terrifies her. At least once a day oncampus, Sara is overcome by panic, anxious that any passing man could be one of the studentassailants. Believing the assailants to be on campus, she has been constantly on the lookout for
them. Once while walking to the K-State library she passed a man who turned toward her. She
jumped, screamed, and began to cry. Sara only uses campus resources like the library when she is

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joined by friends or her Chi Omega sorority sisters, and otherwise stays home to avoid being
alone in a campus setting.
102.

After the sexual assaults and K-State’s refusal to investigate the assailants, Sara

has exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), a physical manifestation of
the distress, involving bodily symptoms.
103.

The first semester that K-State refused to investigate, Sara stopped going to classes

and was forced to withdraw from math. Listening to attendance on the first day of classes each
semester, Sara has been overwhelmed with anxiety, listening intently to hear if the names of the
student-assailants, their friends, or the fraternity members who watched the first rape, doing
nothing, are called. She remains plagued by incessant thoughts about what happened, interfering
with her ability to concentrate in class. Before recently learning he was expelled, she was
haunted, knowing she could be sitting next to J.G. in a class or in the library and not even know it
because she cannot recall anything about his appearance. Sara’s grades plummeted and as a
result, she lost the prestigious “Purple and White” scholarship awarded to her by K-State, causing
a financial burden from her increased tuition costs.
104.

Sara was devastated to learn that J.G. raped another K-State student. Preventing

the rape of other K-State women was one of the primary reasons she reported the rape to K-State.
Sara was distraught to learn that it took J.G. raping another K-State woman – an assault which
was fully preventable – for K-State to finally take action, as it had repeatedly refused to do
following her reports.
105.

At night, Sara cannot fall asleep without being behind a locked door. When she

does sleep, she suffers nightmares about the weight of a man’s body on top of her and being
unable to move. When awake, she struggles to remain present. Surrounded by people, she feels a

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mental numbness, like she is not really there and cannot feel or acknowledge the things around
her. The assaults and K-State’s subsequent mistreatment have strained Sara’s relationships,
causing her to distance herself from her parents and friends. She is afraid of being noticed. She
has decreased her involvement in her sorority and philanthropy and has turned down leadership
opportunities. From the gregarious and confident woman she was before the assaults, Sara now
finds it hard to talk to people she does not know.
106.

At one point, one of the student-assailants came into Sara’s place of work, which

caused Sara to have a severe panic attack. Since the encounter, she has felt increasingly unsafe,
insecure, and threatened.
107.

Sara loved K-State, and there is no other school in the nation she wanted to attend.

K-State’s failure to investigate the rapes makes her feel like the institution does not care about
what happened to her, and that has had a very damaging effect on how she feels about herself.
108.

By refusing to investigate off-campus sexual assaults at fraternities and fraternity

events, like those Sara endured, K-State makes students, like Sara and Crystal, more vulnerable to
rape because it sends a message to fraternity members that they can rape other students without
fear of school disciplinary action. K-State’s practice ignores the reality that many off-campus
sexual assaults adversely impact the on-campus educational environment for victims, just as it did
Sara’s.
109.

Sara suffered extreme mental anguish when she learned J.G. raped another K-State

student in a manner very similar to the way he raped her, and it could have been prevented had KState taken action in response to her report.
110.

K-State’s conduct and omissions likewise caused Crystal, J.G.’s second known

victim, serious harm. By failing to conduct an investigation, a threat assessment, pursue

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disciplinary proceedings, or take any action after Sara reported J.G. for sexual assault, K-State
allowed J.G. to rape Crystal with impunity. K-State informed J.G. of Sara’s report against him,
communicating tacit approval of his misconduct and did nothing to protect or inform students,
like Crystal, of the risk he posed. K-State’s deliberate indifference to Sara’s reports of rape
ultimately led to J.G’s assault of Crystal. As a result she suffered serious ongoing trauma, her
education and grades suffered, eventually causing her to drop out of college. She suffers from
insomnia and nightmares and has attempted suicide.
111.

K-State’s commissioned campus climate assessment indicates that K-State’s

indifference to and failure to respond to sexual violence are widespread beyond Sara, Crystal, and
Tessa. Of the surveyed students who reported the incidents of unwanted sexual contact to KState, nineteen felt that K-State did not appropriately respond. According to the report, “One
respondent echoed the sentiments of others when she wrote, ‘No, I was urged to make less of the
situation and let it go.’” Another wrote, “K-State did absolutely nothing to help me.” Another
said a K-State reporting agency “made me feel like it was my fault.” Yet another said that when
she reported, “nothing was done and K-State made me feel like it was my fault.” According to
the report, “Several respondents specifically mentioned that they considered leaving K-State
because of a sexual assault-related experience. These respondents failed to receive the support
they expected.” One respondent wrote, “I was bullied, raped, and relentlessly harassed with little
support from K-State.” Another offered, “I was sexually assaulted and felt like I had no support.”
One respondent who sought support explained that a K-State office “handled it very badly.”
Some of these respondents indicated that because of their experiences, they felt they “should
leave campus.” One respondent expressing the same feelings Sara, Tessa, and Crystal said
simply, “I was always afraid of running into him on campus.” Another troubling and telling

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response from a student explained: “It is extremely common and those who are raped are told
they are blowing it out of proportion and shamed for it ... and K-State does a lot to try and bury
how often rape happens on its campus.”
COUNT I
Violation of Title IX 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)
Deliberate Indifference to Plaintiff’s Report of Rapes
As to Sara Weckhorst
112.

Plaintiffs incorporate all preceding paragraphs into this Count by reference as

though fully restated herein.
113.

Beginning in April 2014, K-State had actual knowledge of the severe, pervasive,

and objectively offensive sexual harassment and hostile environment experienced by Sara in the
form of multiple rapes inflicted upon her by two K-State students while other K-State students
watched and recorded some of the incidents, post-rape social media harassment of Sara spread
among the student population, and the constant on-campus risk that Sara would encounter the
student-assailants while accessing her education.
114.

K-State’s conduct made Sara’s already hostile educational environment even

worse by, among other things, contacting both student-assailants to inform them of Sara’s report
of rape immediately after telling her K-State would not investigate and by releasing Sara’s name
and detailing the rapes to the Office of Greek Affairs, without obtaining Sara’s consent or
warning her, even though doing so would not result in any investigation of the rapes. These
actions made Sara more fearful on campus and violated her privacy.
115.

K-State was on notice of multiple other instances of sexual assault and gender-

based violence perpetrated against K-State students and others at K-State fraternities as early as
February of 2012, and its failure to take action to address those incidents created a climate in

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which sexual violence was tolerated. As a result, K-State’s inaction encouraged sexual assault
and gender-based violence at its fraternities.
116.

Persons with this actual knowledge, including the OIE, had the authority to take

corrective action to end the discrimination and harassment at K-State but intentionally
misinterpreted K-State’s policy to avoid taking such action.
117.

K-State acted with deliberate indifference to Sara’s report of multiple rapes and the

hostile educational environment created by failing to investigate or take any disciplinary measures
in response her report. K-State was further deliberately indifferent by:
a.

failing to investigate any prior allegations of fraternity sexual and gender-

based violence, thereby creating a climate which tolerated sexual assault and other
misconduct at K-State fraternities;
b.

failing to institute any protective procedures to guard against the risk posed

by its fraternities to female students;
c.

posting only positive information about K-State fraternities on its Greek

Affairs website, and failing to post critical safety information regarding risks, despite
knowing the dangers of K-State fraternities, including but not limited to numerous
incidents of sexual violence committed at fraternity houses;
d.

failing to enforce the student conduct code in response to instances of

sexual violence at its fraternities to prevent sexual assault and other misconduct at K-State
fraternities; and
e.

failing to conduct a threat assessment against the alleged perpetrators of

sexual violence at a fraternity house or event.

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118.

The sexual harassment Sara suffered from this hostile environment was so severe,

pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively deprived Sara access to educational
opportunities and benefits, including forcing Sara to hide in her dormitory to avoid the studentassailants, causing her to be absent from class, negatively impacting her ability to concentrate in
class, negatively impacting her grades, forcing her to drop her math class, causing her to lose the
“Purple and White” scholarship awarded to her by K-State and forcing her to start additional
paying tuition, leaving her in fear of encountering the student-assailants on campus, causing her
to decrease her involvement in her sorority, Chi Omega, and turn down leadership opportunities,
and causing her severe psychological distress.
119.

As a direct and proximate result of K-State’s deliberate indifference, Sara

sustained and continues to sustain injuries. Those injuries include the damage and devastation
caused by learning that by failing to investigate or take action against J.G. after her report of rape,
he went onto rape a fellow K-State student in a similar fashion the following year.
COUNT II
Kansas Consumer Protection Act (“KCPA”)
Deceptive Acts and Practices in Violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act
As to Sara Weckhorst
120.

Plaintiffs incorporate all preceding paragraphs into this Count by reference as

though fully restated herein.
121.

K.S.A. § 50-623, et seq. prohibits deceptive acts and practices and applies to

educational services provided by public universities to students. Defendant, K-State, is a supplier
under the KCPA, as a supplier of educational services.
122.

Sara is a student enrolled in K-State, pays tuition to a public university of the State

of Kansas, and is therefore a consumer under the KCPA
123.

Defendant, K-State, supplied educational services to Sara.

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124.

Defendant, K-State, engaged in consumer transactions with Sara in which it sold or

leased, for value, educational services to Sara for the use and benefit of Sara.
125.

Defendant, K-State, engaged in numerous deceptive acts and practices in

connection with its consumer transactions with Sara, including but not limited to representations
made to Sara, knowing or with reason to know that:
a.

K-State’s property and services possessed characteristics, uses, and benefits

they did not have;
b.

K-State’s property and services were of a particular standard, quality, and

grade where such property and services were materially different from the representations;
and
c.

K-State’s fraternities are safe according to its promotional materials, when

in reality they are sites of sexual assaults and gender violence, and K-State refuses to
investigate instances of sexual assault in its fraternity houses.
126.

K-State willfully used, in written representation and upon information and belief in

oral representation, exaggeration, falsehood, innuendo, and/or ambiguity as to material facts,
specifically regarding the safety of its fraternities, the risks of sexual assault at its fraternities and
its position against investigating sexual assault at its fraternities and indifference to sexual assault
at its fraternities.
127.

K-State willfully failed, and/or willfully concealed, suppressed, and/or omitted

material facts, specifically regarding the safety of its fraternities, the risks of sexual assault at its
fraternities, its position against investigating sexual assault at its fraternities, and its indifference
to sexual assault at its fraternities.

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128.

Defendant K-State engaged in unconscionable acts and practices in connection

with its transaction with Sara for educational services when it knew or had reason to know:
a.

it made misleading statements of opinion regarding the safety of K-State

fraternities upon which Sara and was likely to rely to her detriment;
b.

students, like Sara, may be sexually assaulted by K-State students at K-

State fraternities but the university would refuse to investigate such assaults; and
c.

it had knowledge of many incidents of sexual assault and other sexual

misconduct at its fraternities and refused to disclose that information to students, like Sara,
so they could protect themselves.
129.

Plaintiff Sara Weckhorst has incurred damages as a direct result of Defendant’s

unconscionable and/or deceptive acts and practices and she is “aggrieved” as that term is used in
K.S.A. §§ 50-634 and 636.
COUNT III
Negligence
As to Sara Weckhorst
130.

Plaintiffs incorporate all preceding paragraphs into this Count by reference as

though fully restated herein.
131.

Defendant, K-State, owed statutory, common law, and assumed duties to Sara to

regulate, supervise, warn, protect her from, or otherwise make reasonably safe for her and other
likely student invitees the foreseeably dangerous environment at K-State recognized fraternity
houses.
132.

K-State breached these duties and was negligent by, among other things:
a.

failing to warn Sara or her family about the dangers posed by K-State

fraternities, specifically for female students attending events at that location;

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b.

failing to require safety measures and precautions to prevent known

dangers to female students like Sara at fraternities or otherwise take necessary and
reasonable actions to make fraternity houses a safe environment for students;
c.

failing to have in place or enforce polices to protect students from sexual

assault and rape at K-State fraternities;
d.

failing to investigate reports of sexual assaults by and against its students at

K-State fraternities and K-State fraternity events;
e.

failing to discipline student perpetrators of sexual assault at K-State

fraternities under its code, including the two student-assailants who sexually assaulted
Sara thus leaving her in ongoing proximity to them on campus;

133.

f.

failing to act reasonably under the circumstances; and

g.

other negligent and deliberately indifferent conduct.

As a direct and proximate result of K-State’s breach of its duties, Sara sustained

and continues to sustain physical, mental, and emotional injuries including multiple sexual
assaults and physical and psychological distress.
134.

The sexual assaults of Sara at a K-State fraternity party and at a K-State fraternity

house were foreseeable as K-State had knowledge of numerous instances of sexual assaults at KState fraternities for several years, including previous incidents of gender-based violence at this
fraternity.
135.

K-State has the authority and ability to control and regulate its fraternity houses as

student organizations, boasted by K-State as integral to the campus experience, as demonstrated
by K-State rules for regulating parties, practices, and certain other activities at fraternity houses
and events.

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COUNT IV
Violation of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), 20 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq.
Deliberate Indifference Prior to Plaintiff’s Rape
As to Crystal Stroup
136.

Plaintiffs incorporate all preceding paragraphs into this Count by reference as

though fully restated herein.
137.

K-State had direct notice and actual knowledge of the report of rape against J.G.

committed against K-State student Sara Weckhorst prior to the rape of Crystal.
138.

K-State had actual knowledge of the substantial risk that J.G. would sexually

harass and sexually assault other female students at K-State, like Crystal.
139.

K-State had the authority to take corrective action to address the substantial risk

posed by J.G. and protect K-State students against the foreseeable peril and certain danger,
including repeat sexual violence by J.G. against others, including Crystal.
140.

K-State’s lack of any investigation or corrective action of the prior report of sexual

misconduct by J.G. was clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
141.

Through its action and inaction K-State was deliberately indifferent to the

substantial risk that J.G. would sexually harass or assault other female students at K-State, like
Crystal, and created a climate whereby such misconduct was tolerated, thus encouraging repeated
misconduct and proximately causing injury to Crystal.
142.

Crystal did not report J.G’s sexual assault of her to K-State because she believed

K-State would not investigate or protect her. Crystal withdrew from her regular educational
activities, and her grades and enjoyment of school and school-related activities suffered.
143.

The sexual assault of Crystal by J.G., and K-State’s policy of refusing to take any

actions in response to allegations of sexual violence by students against students, effectively
barred Crystal access to an educational opportunity and benefit.

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144.

By its action and inaction before Crystal’s injuries, Defendant, K-State, acted with

deliberate indifference toward the rights of Crystal and other female students to a safe and secure
education environment, thus materially impairing Crystal’s ability to pursue her education at KState in violation of the requirements of Title IX.
145.

Specifically, Defendant, K-State, violated Title IX by:
a.

despite knowledge of a need to supervise, discipline, or take other

corrective action to prevent sexual violence, rape, discrimination and harassment by J.G.
against K-State students and Crystal, choosing to take no action to investigate the previous
report of sexual violence by J.G. against another K-State student, and failing to protect
Crystal prior to and following the rape;
b.

refusing to enforce its own policies regarding student sexual misconduct,

fraternities, fraternity house and event safety, or, alternatively, being deliberately
indifferent to the enforcement thereof, prior to and following the rape of Crystal;
c.

permitting J.G. to continue to remain in the K-State community and in the

midst of its student population, and refusing to conduct a threat assessment against him,
including as a result of the rape of Sara, interview him, and evaluate whether he posed a
threat to others, despite having actual knowledge of his acts of sexual violence, or,
alternatively, being deliberately indifferent thereto;
d.

creating a climate which tolerated sexual assault and other sexual violence,

or, alternatively, being deliberately indifferent thereto;
e.

failing to take appropriate action against J.G. for acts of sexual violence

perpetrated before and against Crystal, or, alternatively, being deliberately indifferent
thereto; and

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f.
146.

through other actions, inactions, and deliberate indifference.

As a result of K-State’s deliberate indifference, Crystal was subjected to

harassment and discrimination, including sexual assault and rape by J.G.
147.

The sexual harassment that Crystal suffered was so severe, pervasive, and

objectively offensive that it deprived her of access to educational opportunities and benefits.
148.

As a direct and proximate result of K-State’s actions, inactions, and deliberate

indifference, Crystal was sexually assaulted by J.G. and suffered, and, for the foreseeable future
will continue to suffer, substantial permanent physical and emotional injuries, harm to her
educational opportunities, benefits, and academic performance, and other damages.
COUNT V
Negligence
As to Crystal Stroup
149.

Plaintiff incorporates all preceding paragraphs into this Count by reference as

though fully restated herein.
150.

Defendant K-State owed statutory, common law, and assumed duties to Crystal

and its other students to protect her and them from certain and imminent dangers, including acts
of sexual violence by another student if such actions are reasonably foreseeable and within KState’s control, and to take all reasonable actions necessary to investigate allegations of studenton-student sexual assault, conduct threat assessments, and discipline and remove from campus
students who have sexually assaulted and pose a serious threat of violence to other students.
151.

In April 2014, K-State had actual knowledge and notice of allegations that J.G. had

sexually assaulted Sara while she was physically and mentally incapacitated at a fraternity event
and in a fraternity house.

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152.

K-State breached these duties owed to Crystal and was negligent by, among other

things:
a.

refusing to investigate the complaint of rape against J.G., remove him from

its campus community, conduct a threat assessment, review the allegations against J.G.,
evaluate whether he posed a threat to other women, or otherwise engage in reasonable any
conduct to protect female students from the risks he posed that were in the power of KState to remediate;
b.

creating a foreseeable peril and danger by having actual knowledge of a

complaint against J.G. for rape, something not readily discoverable by the campus
community, knowing of J.G.’s continued presence on campus, proximity and threat other
K-State women, and failing to take reasonable actions to protect such persons, including
Crystal;
c.

refusing to act to control the conduct of J.G. to protect women and other

members of its campus community, including after it was reported that he had raped
another student in a fraternity house;
d.

failing to adopt and/or follow policies and procedures to specifically

protect female students from dangers of sexual violence by perpetrators reported and
identified to K-State;
e.

failing to adequately enforce policies to protect students from sexual

violence, sexual harassment and rape; and
f.
153.

other negligent and deliberately indifferent conduct.

As a direct and proximate result of K-State’s negligence, Crystal was sexually

assaulted by J.G. and suffered, and for the foreseeable future will continue to suffer, substantial

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permanent physical and emotional injuries, harm to her educational opportunities, benefits, and
academic performance, and other damages.
154.

As a direct and proximate result of K-State’s unlawful policies and negligence,

Crystal did not report J.G’s sexual assault of her to K-State because she believed K-State would
take no action to investigate the allegations or protect her. Crystal sought to protect herself by
withdrawing from her regular educational activities, and her grades and enjoyment of school and
school-related activities suffered.
155.

K-State placed Crystal on academic probation in spring 2016. At this time, Crystal

reported being raped by J.G. to K-State counseling staff. K-State staff failed to advise her of her
rights, K-State’s policies, or refer her to qualified services on campus such as the K-State Office
of Institutional Equity, despite K-State’s policies and public statements which, inter alia, claim
that K-State has a process for “receiving, investigating and resolving complaints made by students
of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.” As a result, Crystal endured months of fear and
torment because of actual and threatened daily contacts with J.G. on campus, in campus facilities,
and while traveling to and from campus with K-Students, including J.G. Crystal was unable to
return to K-State for her sophomore year.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the Plaintiffs request that this Court to award them:
A.

Compensatory damages on Count I;

B.

Compensatory damages and Civil Penalties on Count II;

C.

Compensatory damages on Count III;

D.

Compensatory damages on Count IV;

E.

Compensatory damages on Count V;

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F.

Attorney’s fees;

G.

Declaratory judgment that the Defendant’s treatment of Sara violated Title IX;

H.

Injunctive relief ordering K-State to conduct an investigation and disciplinary

proceedings into Sara’s reports of sexual assault;
I.

Injunctive relief ordering K-State revise its policies, procedures, and practices so

that it is in compliance with Title IX; and
J.

Such other and further relief that is just and appropriate under the circumstances.
JURY DEMAND

Plaintiffs demand trial by jury.
Respectfully submitted,
November 28, 2016
THE FIERBERG NATIONAL
LAW GROUP, PLLC

PALMER, LEATHERMAN, WHITE,
GIRARD & VAN DYK, LLP

By:

By:
Cari Simon (Pro Hac Vice pending)
Douglas E. Fierberg (Pro Hac Vice pending)
The Fierberg National Law Group, PLLC
105 East Philip Street
P.O. Box 121
Lake Leelanau, MI 49653
202-351-0510

COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFFS

44

Dustin L. Van Dyk
Ks. S. Ct. #23313
Gary D. White Jr.
Ks. S. Ct. #15637
Meaghan M. Girard Ks. S. Ct. #22085
Palmer, Leatherman, White,
Girard & Van Dyk, LLP
2348 SW Topeka Blvd.
Topeka, KS 66611
785-223-1836

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