Freshman claims IU botched sexual assault case, files federal Title IX complaint


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Update (April 14, 2016)-- Jason Casares will not be charged in relation to this case. Read more here.

Original story:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - An Indiana University freshman is among several women who have filed federal Title IX complaints against their universities claiming the schools mishandled their sexual assault cases.

"When you have a name and a face and someone speaking out, it’s just easier for you to try to connect with what’s going on," Hailey Rial said.

Rial told FOX59 that she wanted people to see and hear her, instead of just the words "anonymous" or "Jane Doe."

Rial says she was sexually assaulted at an off-campus fraternity house in September. She immediately reported it to Indiana University-Bloomington officials. The man Rial accused of raping her was found not responsible.

However, Rial's case was overseen by Jason Casares, director of student ethics and a deputy Title IX coordinator, who recently resigned in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations. When Rial discovered the possible conflict of interest, she tried to appeal her case, but was denied by the University.

In the complaint, Rial writes, "I would think that the Title IX coordinator being accused of doing the same thing that someone else did to me was a bias, but Indiana University apparently did not agree."

Rial also told FOX59 that she felt there were a series of miscommunications in her case, including the fact that she was told she would receive a protective order and months later, upon continuing to encounter her assailant, found out the paperwork had never been filed. She also pointed to the fact that her hearing happened in January, taking twice as long as the 60 days after an incident federal guidelines suggest.

"My hope with speaking out about it and sending this complaint is that not only the universities that are doing these things wrong, but also the public, can understand that something has to change with this system," Rial said.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights will not confirm whether it has received Rials' complaint, however a spokesman said "If, after, evaluation, OCR opens an investigation of the case, OCR will inform the institution, the complainant and the public, as appropriate."

An Indiana University spokesperson provided this statement:

"Indiana University is aware of a Title IX complaint filed with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, alleging mishandling of a sexual assault investigation at the university’s Bloomington campus.

While the university cannot comment on the specifics of an individual case due to the privacy rights afforded to all parties in an investigation, it does dispute a number of the assertions made in the media as they relate to this investigation.

Indiana University has a comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy and a robust set of practices, including the prompt provision of interim measures to complainants, that are consistent with guidelines set forth by the Office of Civil Rights. The policy and practices have been put in place to ensure that all parties in this type of investigations are treated fairly and with respect. The university believes those practices were followed in this case.

As the university has previously stated, all sexual misconduct hearings chaired by IU Bloomington’s former director of student ethics during the current academic year through his being placed on administrative leave and subsequent resignation are being reviewed by an independent Title IX authority. The case in question is among those being reviewed.

In addition, the university will disclose all information related to this complaint with the OCR as it conducts its investigation and the university welcomes that opportunity."

Right now OCR has two open Title IX investigations at IU.

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