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A woman suing Cerritos College's administration is accusing college leaders of negligence and other misdeeds by failing to warn her that a college football player - recently convicted of raping the plaintiff - had pleaded guilty to a prior rape before enrolling at the college.
A Los Angeles County jury convicted the football player, 22-year-old Kishawn Holmes of Hemet, of forcible rape on Thursday. Facts of the case provided by a Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office statement match events described in the complaint filed against Cerritos College leadership, and attorney Allegra Rineer said the criminal and civil cases involve the same victim, identified in the civil complaint only as Jane W.J. Doe.
The case names Holmes as well as the Cerritos Community College District and Cerritos College Dean of Student Services Elizabeth Miller as defendants.
"They brought a sexual predator on to campus, and he did exactly what sexual predators do," Rineer said.
Cerritos College spokeswoman Miya Walker said in an email Monday that the college has yet to be served with the lawsuit and could not comment on the specifics of the case.
"While the incident did not occur at the college, we take the well-being of our students very seriously and have policies and procedures on student conduct, and require sexual violence and harassment prevention trainings," Walker wrote.
Miller, who Rineer said was named as a defendant because of her duties to oversee admissions to Cerritos College, could not be reached for comment.
Holmes was in custody on Monday, according to online booking records.
The filing against the college alleges negligence, sexual discrimination or harassment in an educational institution and constructive fraud. Doe's complaint also extends the latter two allegations against Holmes, in addition to allegations of sexual assault and sexual battery.
Doe was a kinesiology student at Cerritos College and met Holmes in her role as a student athletic trainer, according to the complaint.
Doe helped Holmes with stretching, icing and other physical therapy-related tasks, but had no knowledge of his criminal history, according to the complaint. The filing goes on to report that Holmes raped Doe on Sept, 8, 2016, after she agreed to meet him at his apartment to give him a back massage to aid Holmes' recovery from an injury.
That's the same date given by the District Attorney's Office for the crime. Prosecutors reported that Holmes' victim was 19 at the time she was attacked.
The civil filing states that Holmes was accepted to Cerritos College and permitted to play running back for the football team's 2015 season even though he was on probation for an earlier crime.
Holmes, who was 17 at the time of the crime, agreed to a plea in 2014 following criminal charges involving a student at Vista Murrieta High School.
Riverside County district attorney's spokesman John Hall confirmed Monday that shortly after Holmes was charged with raping a Cerritos College student, Holmes had pleaded guilty to forcible rape in April 2014. Holmes and his family denied the charges.
Doe did not learn of the earlier case until after she was assaulted and a friend gave her a link to online news coverage of Holmes' past.
Doe told her parents about the attack in January 2017, and her parents in turn reported the case to the school's athletic trainer. Cerritos College's investigation began last February, and the complaint reports that Doe learned that college personnel had been aware of Holmes' criminal record after meeting with the college's investigator.
"She felt betrayed by the college, and she felt that the college should have, at minimum, warned her," Rineer said.
"She never would have agreed to have been alone with Mr. Holmes," Rineer added.
Cerritos College denied Doe's request for special arrangements that would have prevented her from being in contact with Holmes or having anything to do with him while fulfilling her activities in the athletic training program, according to the complaint. Doe responded by quitting her studies at Cerritos College, and Rineer said she has enrolled in classes at another school.
"Having to deal with sexual assault is devastating for any victim," Rineer said. "There's depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt and it derailed her educational goals."
Cerritos College's investigation concluded in November that Holmes "was responsible for 'sexual harassment, failure to obtain affirmative consent and sexual assault in violation of Title IX and campus policy,' " according to the complaint.
Following his conviction earlier this month, Holmes faces a maximum 18-year prison sentence and a lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender, according to prosecutors.
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