Appeals Court: Teen Can’t Bring Title IX Suit Because She’s Not a Student

August 2, 2017

A teenager who said she was sexually assaulted while visiting Culver-Stockton College doesn’t have the legal grounds to bring a Title IX lawsuit against the institution -- a federal court dismissed her suit, and a court of appeals won’t overturn that decision.

Last year a 16-year-old high school junior, known by the pseudonym K. T., sued the Missouri college under the federal gender discrimination law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, after she said she was sexually assaulted at a fraternity party. She was spending the night at the college as a potential athletic recruit.

K. T. alleged the college failed to prevent the assault -- she was not supervised properly, and she asserted that officials did not investigate the matter once it was reported.

A federal appeals court sided with Culver-Stockton, which had requested the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that the teen could not bring a Title IX claim against the institution because she was not a student.

The court also found even if K. T. was a student, she was not harassed because of the indifference on the college’s part, and she did not demonstrate that officials knew of prior incidents.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday affirmed the lower court’s decision.

“K. T.’s complaint lacks factual content allowing us to conclude that either the alleged misconduct or Culver-Stockton’s response to K. T.’s allegations had the required ‘systemic effect’ such that K. T. was denied equal access to educational opportunities provided by Culver-Stockton. The complaint therefore failed to state a claim of peer harassment under Title IX,” the appeals court filing reads.

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