Washington, D.C.– On May 14, 2017, “Jane Doe” reported to the Corvallis Police that Oregon State University (“OSU”) football player Jordan Alexander Pace had raped her in his dorm room. Graphic physical evidence was collected during a rape kit conducted at the local hospital that same night, and four felony sex offense charges are currently pending against Pace.
Nevertheless, upon notice of the campus rape, OSU discriminated and retaliated against Ms. Doe by immediately imposing a no contact order against her, the victim. This order prohibits her from speaking to law enforcement and limits her access to educational opportunities and benefits on campus. In the aftermath of the campus rape, Pace’s teammates intimidated Ms. Doe on campus, and given the ongoing threat posed by Pace’s continued presence on campus, Ms. Doe felt forced to withdraw from OSU. Not only has OSU kept Pace on campus as a student and student-athlete – the very place Ms. Doe was forced to withdraw from – it recently hired him as a campus employee, though he is in the midst of being prosecuted for four felony sex offense charges against a fellow student.
Today, Ms. Doe filed suit in the U.S. District for the District of Oregon seeking a declaratory judgment against OSU to declare the practice of issuing no contact orders, automatically and without due process, request or necessity, against victims of alleged crimes, as unlawful, discriminatory, and retaliatory in violation of Title IX, federal and state due process rights, federal and state free speech rights, and her rights as a crime victim under Oregon’s State Constitution.
TED Fellow and leading victim rights attorney for campus sexual assault, Laura L. Dunn, through the Fierberg National Law Group, PLLC, and in partnership with local counsel Andrew Lauersdorf and Janis Puracal of Maloney Lauersdorf & Reiner P.C., filed this legal challenge on Ms. Doe’s behalf. “Schools are unjustifiably imposing orders against victims of sexual misconduct to limit their access to education counter to the very protections Title IX guarantees them,” said Dunn, “This is due to the Trump administration’s action to rescind critical Title IX guidance and replace it with a discriminatory interim policy that encourages schools to favor those accused over Title IX’s requirement to protect the victim.” In January 2017, Dunn led SurvJustice’s legal challenge against Secretary DeVos’ changes to Title IX guidance. That lawsuit currently faces a motion to dismiss from the government in the U.S. District for the Northern District of California.