By Whitney Elfstrom
The university says that the lawsuit brought by a former student who was accosted in the parking garage is “vague and ambiguous.”
The woman, called “L.E.” in the suit sued the university and campus police in June for its negligence in handling a sex-related crime. She said those entities did not “provide adequate security” when a man masturbated behind her in the parking garage elevator.
L.E. was attacked in February 2016. Willie Fudge III, a non-student who lived near campus, was arrested seven days later and charged with one count of exposure of sexual organs, a misdemeanor, and four counts of battery, for touching a person against her will.
In the suit, L.E. requested the university admit that she was sexually assaulted. However, the Board says it “cannot deny or admit this request.”
The Board says that while she was subject to an incident of “lewdness and/or indecent exposure,” she was “not sexually assaulted,” as set forth under the Clery Act, the consumer protection law that provides transparency around campus crime policy and statistics.
L.E. also filed identical allegations against the two entities, saying the university should have warned her of “foreseeable and unreasonable” risks created by the parking garage. She also says that the university failed to “oversee and/or supervise existing security measures” and “failed to warn L.E. about previous criminal acts” in the parking garage.
Countering this, the Board says L.E.’s allegations were “redundant and immaterial.”
The Board called for the case to be dismissed on the grounds that USF is provided with sovereign immunity as it is a state agency or for L.E. to provide a more definite statement “setting forth ultimate facts.”