La Salle University Cited for Mishandling 2 Rape Cases

Published: December 25, 2006

PHILADELPHIA – La Salle University failed to comply with the Clery Act when it neglected to issue campus-wide warnings after the alleged sexual assaults by members of the men’s basketball team in 2003 and 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The university now faces fines or a reduction in the amount of federal aid it receives.

The finding may set a precedent, according to Security on Campus Inc., a nonprofit group committed to increasing campus safety nationwide. It is atypical for the Department of Education to cite universities that fail to report acquaintance assaults such as the ones that occurred at La Salle. In the last 15 years of the Clery Act’s existence, only three universities have been fined by the department for violating the law.

The incidents in question at La Salle University involve women who were allegedly sexually assaulted by members of the men’s basketball teams in April 2003 and June 2004. Three players were accused in the two incidents. One had the charges against him dropped and two were later acquitted.

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In both cases, the women reported the incidents to basketball coaches who either did not report the incident or were slow in reporting it. According to the department, La Salle did not take the appropriate steps to issue warnings to the campus.

According to La Salle, safety alerts were not needed, as the rape suspects had already been suspended.

The Department of Education, however, responded that student suspensions do not obviate the need for immediate warnings. Both coaches later resigned.

La Salle University is planning to appeal the department’s ruling.

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