Nebraska and its football program are once again in the midst of a legal imbroglio.
It was reported earlier this offseason that “[s]even women, including three female athletes, are suing the NCAA, alleging the organization failed to protect them from alleged sexual assaults by male college athletes despite having an obligation to do so.” That lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.
A former Nebraska volleyball player, Capri Davis, is one of the seven plaintiffs in that suit. It’s alleged that Davis and another unnamed female student-athlete were groped without consent by two members of the Nebraska football team in the spring of 2019. While not specifically named in the suit, ESPN.com identified the two Nebraska football players as Katerian LeGrone and Andre Hunt. The unidentified female has also claimed that she was raped by LeGrone and a different teammate in the fall of 2018.
Twice, Davis, who has since transferred to Texas, and the unidentified female student-athlete went to the school’s Title IX office regarding the groping incident. Neither time, the first suit states, was the incident investigated as required by law. After learning that Hunt and LeGrone were accused of raping a student, the pair went to the Title IX Office a third time. This time, an investigation was launched. That investigation ultimately led to the two Nebraska football players being expelled from the university.
Two months later, ESPN.com has reported that nine women have filed a separate lawsuit naming the University of Nebraska as the defendant. The new legal action alleges “that the school mishandled complaints of sexual assault and harassment, including reports involving accusations against at least five athletes.” From ESPN‘s report:
The lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska alleges violations under the Title IX gender equity law, as well as racial discrimination, negligence and lack of due process. The lawsuit also alleges that school officials made errors in their investigations of some of the women’s reports and did not provide academic help.
The lawsuit states that the university “handled sexual misconduct complaints against student-athletes in a different manner than how other complaints were handled.”
One of the women named in the lawsuit filed Monday is former Nebraska volleyball player Capri Davis, who also was part of a lawsuit filed in April against the NCAA. In that action, seven women, including two other female athletes, alleged that the NCAA failed to protect them from alleged sexual assaults by male college athletes, despite having an obligation to do so. That case was refiled in a Michigan state court in May.
“The health and safety of all of our students is of the [utmost] importance to us,” a statement from NU read. “We have a strong Title IX process and are confident in it. Every case is difficult and investigated based on the information made available. We cannot comment on the specifics of any Title IX investigation or on pending litigation.”
In late August of last year, Nebraska confirmed that the two football players, Hunt, a wide receiver, and LeGrone, a tight end, had been indefinitely suspended by the program for unspecified reasons. A little over three months later, it was reported that both of the players had been “found to have violated the school’s sexual misconduct policies and face a 2½-year suspension from the university.”
The extended suspension stemmed from an alleged rape of an NU student on Aug. 25 and, even as a police investigation remained open, no criminal charges had been filed. There was a development on the legal front in mid-December, though, as LeGrone and Hunt were arrested on one count of suspicion of first-degree sexual assault and one count of suspicion of aiding and abetting first-degree sexual assault, respectively, even as neither had been formally charged at the time.
Yet another disturbing development surfaced around that same time as local media reported that an additional six sexual assault reports have been filed with the Lincoln Police Department that “are connected to either one or both of the former Husker players accused of sexual misconduct.” Four of the new reports involved non-consensual sexual penetration, three of which were designated as rape, while two included allegations of inappropriate touching of private parts.
“The additional six reports date back to the summer of 2018, with three of the alleged assaults occurring in the same UNL dorm room,” the Omaha World-Herald wrote at the time.
As it relates to the incident that resulted in their arrests, Hunt and LeGrone have claimed that any sexual activity was consensual. The alleged victim claimed it was non-consensual.
In April of this year, both Hunt and LeGrone were expelled from the university. Their criminal cases are still pending.