Miltenberg, Vinci: “Court Allows Dickinson College Grad’s Lawsuit to Move Forward Over School’s Handling of Sexual Assault Report,” Penn Live


The lawsuit filed by a former student against Dickinson College may move forward in federal court after a new ruling came down this week. Rose McAvoy sued the Carlisle college in July 2020, saying officials there mishandled the investigation when she reported a sexual assault. Additionally, she said the college did not sufficiently punish her attacker. The college responded in October by asking a federal judge to dismiss McAvoy’s lawsuit, arguing it was “threadbare” and lacked specifics that were legally actionable. While Senior U.S. Middle District Judge David Cercone ruled in favor of dismissing one of McAvoy’s claims against the college, he wrote in his order issued on Tuesday that all of her other allegations are plausible, denying the college’s attempt to have them dismissed. “I think it’s a really great win for our client and for the case, allowing the case to move forward and continue,” said Gabrielle Vinci, one of McAvoy’s attorneys. “It’s an indication the court sees something wrong with what Dickinson did.” Dickinson College now has 20 days to respond as the sides prepare for a possible trial. “We take sexual assault very seriously and work diligently to reach a fair and equitable resolution of each case,” Dickinson College spokeswoman Christine Baski said Wednesday in response to the court’s ruling. “While we respect the court’s decision on these preliminary matters, we remain confident that we’ll ultimately prevail on the merits.” In her suit, McAvoy said the leaders of the private college failed to properly and promptly investigate her sexual assault complaint and didn’t impose a just punishment on the male student she accused of kissing her, pinning her down and grabbing her breasts without her permission. Her suit states that she thought she was on a platonic “hangout” with the male student when he assaulted her in the fall of 2017.

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