Lawyer in rape lawsuit claims female athletes at KU were ‘asked to be subservient’ to male athletes

photo by: Nick Krug

Kansas fans watch the Jayhawk football team on Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 at Memorial Stadium.

Before female athletes at the University of Kansas begin their academic careers they’re taught to submit to the school’s male athletes, according to a lawsuit filed against KU by Daisy Tackett, a former rower for KU.

On Tuesday Tackett’s attorney, Dan Curry, filed an amended complaint in her lawsuit claiming that KU failed to follow Title IX requirements forbidding gender-based discrimination in education. Title IX also requires universities to work to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The amended complaint was filed as a response to KU’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, said Curry, who represents Tackett.

Tackett said her assault by a KU football player took place in fall 2014, and Sarah McClure, another rower, said she was attacked in August 2015 by the same man, who was expelled from KU last spring.

“This is our client’s way of saying there are more facts out there that support what they’re saying and want to make sure they’re on paper so everybody can see what they’re talking about,” Curry said.

Claims in the amended complaint include the following:

• “KU has an official policy that requires female rowers to attend KU football games, and to cheer and encourage the football players as they enter the field.”

• “Even two rowers like (Tackett) and Sarah McClure, who had been sexually assaulted by a KU football player, were encouraged and expected to attend and root on the KU football players under KU’s policy.”

• “KU has an official policy and practice of entertaining football recruits in hotels just off campus and encouraging female KU athletes to attend parties with the recruits.”

KU officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, and Curry did not immediately respond to an inquiry asking where the “official” policies mentioned in the amended complaint could be found.

The Journal-World could not immediately find specific policies similar to the ones mentioned in the lawsuit.

Curry said those alleged policies and others submitted students to a culture of sexual harassment that worsened once they entered student housing such as Jayhawker Towers, where Tackett and McClure say their assaults occurred.

“To me these facts show that these programs aren’t being treated equally,” he said. “Female students are being asked to be subservient to the men even before they’re students at KU.”

KU has not filed an answer to Tuesday’s amended complaint, and the school’s motion to dismiss is still under consideration.

Tackett filed her lawsuit against KU in Douglas County District Court in March.

Tackett claims in her lawsuit that KU took too long to investigate her rape report, which allowed her alleged attacker and her rowing coach to retaliate against her.

Tackett’s lawsuit was moved to U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., in May. That month KU filed a motion to dismiss the case, claiming the university would only be liable if it had been aware of ongoing peer-on-peer sexual harassment and treated the situation with deliberate indifference.

Tackett, McClure and their parents are also suing KU in Douglas County District Court claiming the university misled the public by presenting its campus as safe. The school has also asked for that lawsuit to be dismissed, a motion currently under consideration by Douglas County District Judge Kay Huff.

The women are not suing the man they accuse of the assaults, and the man has not been charged with any crimes.