Women Sue University of Missouri Over Title IX Case | Athletic Business

Women Sue University of Missouri Over Title IX Case

Two women are suing the University of Missouri, alleging that the school mishandled a case involving a former men’s basketball player.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court and acquired by The Kansas City Star, claimed Missouri’s Title IX office failed to fully investigate complaints against Terrence Phillips.

“In the face of numerous egregious allegations against one of its star athletes, the university decided to do nothing,” the lawsuit said, according to the Kansas City Star. “One the university finally acted, it conducted an ‘investigation’ that was counter to its policies and federal law. As a result, rather than feeling safe, the University’s decisions further victimized and traumatized Doe 1 and Doe 2.”

Phillips, who played at Missouri from 2015-18, was accused of physical and sexual misconduct by multiple female students, leading to him being suspended and an investigation being opened in January 2018. The Title IX office handled the investigation, as it involved violence, harassment or discrimination.

Phillips was dismissed from the program in February, finishing his career averaging 7.6 points and 3.4 assists in 83 games over two-plus years. The investigation continued into the summer, when he was found responsible for two violations – intimate partner violence for pushing an ex-girlfriend, and for texting a picture of his genitals to a woman. He was cleared of rape and stalking allegations.

Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 believe that the university’s investigation should have found more.

Doe 1 said she exchanged phone numbers with Phillips when they met at a Columbia bar she worked at in April 2017. The plaintiff says she was offended when Phillips texted her a picture of his genitalia and tried to cut off communication. He continued appearing outside of her classes and home, and got a job at the same bar at which she worked.

Doe 1 told the Title IX office in September 2017 that a basketball player was harassing her, but didn’t name Phillips. The office emailed her in October that they had received multiple reports against Phillips and “may have to proceed with an investigation into him.”

Yet, no investigation started and the lawsuit alleges that the Title IX office gave Doe 1 no support, didn’t communicate with her about the process, and failed to follow Missouri’s Title IX policy by not putting “in place any remedial or protective measures.”

Doe 2 alleges that she and a friend met Phillips at the bar he worked at in December 2017. She believes Phillips laced their drinks with a drug, as her next memory was of “Phillips videotaping her with his phone as he raped her.”

She made a complaint the next week. In January, the Title IX office told the women there were at least six complaints against Phillips and they were going to move forward with the investigation.

The women found out in June that Phillips wasn’t responsible for sexually assaulting Doe 2, and was only responsible for the text exposing his genitals to Doe 1.

The lawsuit calls for compensatory and punitive damages, and for the university to change its Title IX policies.

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