Plaintiffs: Trying UT sexual assault case in Knoxville would cause trauma, anguish

New filings also allege UT internal investigation found 6 athletes named in lawsuit committed sexual assault

Courtesy of WATE

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The plaintiffs in the sweeping Title IX lawsuit against the University of Tennessee say in new filings trying the case in Knoxville would cause “trauma and mental anguish.”

The filing also states six of the athletes named in the case – Yemi Makanjuola, A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams, Von Pearson and two “John Doe”s – were found to have committed sexual assaults at the conclusion of internal UT investigations, but were allowed to remain enrolled, remain on campus and graduate or transfer by invoking Tennessee’s internal TUAPA review process that is “plainly preempted by federal law and delays and drags on sexual assault complaints for, in some cases, years.”

Extended coverage: University of Tennessee sexual assault

Web Extra: Read the filing [PDF]

The university made a motion last week to move the case from Nashville to Knoxville because that is where the alleged incidents took place and where the main campus is located. The plaintiffs say UT has campuses throughout the state and because several of the plaintiffs live in Middle Tennessee, the case should stay in that area.

“Plaintiffs chose the Middle District to pursue their claim not only because of residency in this district and division (as to three of the eight plaintiffs) but also because of convenience, expense and to avoid the hostility to which plaintiffs have been (and will be) exposed by the hostile sexual environment associated with UT football (and basketball) athletic programs in Knoxville,” the plaintiffs said.

The suit, filed on behalf of eight unidentified women, claims a student culture that enables sexual assault by athletes, particularly football players.

Copyright 2016 WATE. All rights reserved.

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