William Jewell College denies liability for 2017 sexual assault allegation, asks for case dismissal

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LIBERTY, Mo. — In a court response filed on June 3, William Jewell College has denied all liability for an alleged sexual assault that happened in the 2017 academic year.

In the lawsuit, plaintiff A.P. said she was raped on campus by a football player,  Z.P., who had an alleged history of sexual harassment. She said the school, the defendant in the lawsuit, didn’t do enough to prevent it or help her afterwards.

“The college denies that any of its employees, agents, or servants acted in a negligent manner and further denies that it is liable for any conduct on their part,” according to the response, filed by Derek T. Teeter, attorney for the school.

The lawsuit, filed on May 7 on behalf of plaintiff A.P., asks for more than half of $1 million dollars in damages including negligence and breach of IX procedures. It outlines alleged failures by the college both before and after the incident, which the school has denied.

Before the alleged assault

The lawsuit claims the school was negligent in allowing Z.P. on campus during the time of the alleged assault based on two alleged incidents leading up to it.

First, the lawsuit claims Z.P. was involved in sexual misconduct in high school resulting in attending a secondary school, and that William Jewell failed to properly take this information into consideration. The school denies this, stating “the information supplied to the College by Z.P.’s principal, teacher, and school district gave no indication that Z.P. had committed sexual misconduct in high school or was ordered to complete his senior year in an alternative school.”

The lawsuit also sites an incident on William Jewell’s campus, in which Z.P. recorded a video of students having sex and shared it with other people. The college admits this happened, but claims that this incident was investigated properly, resulting in Z.P.’s suspension.

However, the college claims the alleged assault happened before the investigation into the video was finished, so Z.P. was still allowed on campus at the time.

The lawsuit also alleges that another instance of sexual harassment of another student, but the school claims officials interviewed the student, who denied any harassment took place.

After the alleged assault

The school agrees that A.P. filed a police report and used a rape kit at a hospital after the alleged assault. However, the response from the school ultimately denies the assault happened based on a lack of official charges and a lack of information on the results of the rape kit.

A.P. also filed a Title IX report, which the school admits. However, the lawsuit alleges that officials at the school told the plaintiff not to talk about the assault, or she would face retaliation. The school denies this, stating they have a no-retaliation policy.

William Jewell ultimately expelled Z.P. and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine, to help cover the plaintiff’s counseling.

However, the lawsuit states the school remains liable for the assault that happened on in their dorm as a result of negligence from school staff and administration. William Jewell denies these allegations.

William Jewell College has filed a motion asking the courts to dismiss the case.

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