USU Old Main

Two of the women raped by former college football player Torrey Green are suing Utah State University.

Filed on Monday in U.S. district court, the lawsuit states “that a dangerous environment existed at Utah State University where sexual assaults were known about and tolerated by the University and the individual defendants.”

The defendants named in the lawsuit include the university; the Utah State Board of Regents; Krystin Deschamps, a USU student conduct coordinator and assessment specialist; and Jenny Erazo, the coordinator for USU’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information office.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend that the university and the individual defendants did not adequately investigate sexual assault accusations made against students or take appropriate actions to ensure all students had equal access to education opportunities.

In an email to The Herald Journal regarding the lawsuit, Tim Vitale, the public relations specialist for USU, stated that Green had many victims in both USU and the surrounding community.

Vitale wrote that the university would like to assist those who were victims reach closure and has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the case.

“We are continuing to address those university-wide systemic problems,” Vitale wrote. “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.”

The lawsuit comes after Green was found guilty and sentenced earlier this year of multiple rapes that occurred between 2013-2015 while he was a student at USU.

In addition to the Green case, the lawsuit also references sexual assault incidents related to two other former USU students as evidence for an environment of tolerating sexual assault.

This includes an early 2015 case where former Utah State student Robert Wray was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman at a fraternity party.

The second case took place in 2016 when Jason Relopez, also a former USU student, was found guilty of raping multiple women. The lawsuit states that five women reported being raped by him before he was arrested in 2015.

After Relopez was sentenced, one of the women he assaulted, Victoria Hewlett, sued Utah State University. Last year, Hewlett received $250,000 from the settlement of the lawsuit. The settlement also led to Greek organizations at USU being required to apply for recognition as official student organizations.

The women in the current case are suing for compensation for physical and emotional pain and suffering, psychological trauma, medical bills, interference with education and impaired earning capacity. The amount of any monetary award would be determined at court should USU be found at fault.

The attorneys at Pitcher & Holdaway in Logan who are handling the case issued a written statement to the media on Tuesday afternoon. In this statement, Diane Pitcher, Ryan Holdaway and Brandt Henslee wrote they are “not inclined to have their clients subjected to the emotional trauma that would arise from discussing their personal experiences with the press.”

The attorneys wrote that the university did not live up to its legal and moral obligations to protect the women who came forward.

“By filing suit, our clients wish to bring to light the manner in which Utah State University handled, or failed to handle, these sexual assaults perpetrated against its students,” Pitcher, Holdaway and Henslee stated. “Despite the difficulty of reliving their horrific experiences, our clients hope that by making these events public current and future students will be afforded greater protection from the types of assaults committed by Torrey Green.”

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