Attorney: Ludlow disputes lawsuit’s allegations
February 13, 2014
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The professor accused of sexually assaulting a Medill junior in 2012 released a statement Thursday denying the student’s allegations and claiming she “initiated friendly communications” with him the day after the alleged assault took place.
The student filed a Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern on Monday, claiming the school failed to act after she reported the alleged sexual assault by philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow. Ludlow is not named as a defendant in the suit.
Ludlow released a statement through his attorney, Kristin Case, on Thursday afternoon disputing the student’s allegations. Ludlow denies he sexually harassed or assaulted the student, Case said in the statement.
“We have corroborating evidence that (the student) propositioned Mr. Ludlow,” Case said in the statement. “He refused her advances.”
Case said she and Ludlow are in possession of social media communications and text messages showing the student initiated “very friendly” contact with Ludlow the day after the reported assault and again in the week following it. The student asked to meet with Ludlow in person and came to a conference he was attending, Case said.
“At that time, Mr. Ludlow told her, as he had in the past, that he did not want to be romantically involved with her,” Case said in the statement.
The statement comes a day after the student’s attorney released his own statement including a copy of an email Joan Slavin, director of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Office, wrote to the student. In the email, Slavin says after an investigation, she concluded Ludlow made “unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward the student.
Case said Ludlow had never been contacted by police nor notified of any criminal complaint.
“Mr. Ludlow is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit or any lawsuit by (the student),” Case said in the statement. “That, alone, speaks volumes about this case.”
The student’s attorney, Kevin O’Connor, said Wednesday the student had filed a police report about one year after the night in question. Political science Prof. Jacqueline Stevens said Thursday she went with the student to file a report with the Chicago Police Department about a year after the incident occurred.
“When we gave the report, it was clear to me that the officer who was actually with (the student) in person, writing down what had happened and taking notes on this for over an hour was … outraged by the University and its failure to alert the police immediately,” Stevens said. “He found her entirely credible.”
Ludlow also disputed Thursday the student’s claim that a University committee was formed to determine disciplinary action against Ludlow and recommended his termination following an internal investigation of the assault.
“To our knowledge, there has never been any recommendation by any Northwestern ‘committee’ that Mr. Ludlow be terminated,” Case said in the statement.
In his statement released Wednesday, O’Connor affirmed the existence of such a committee.
“We know of its existence and its decision through sources from inside NU,” O’Connor said in the statement. “Presently, we cannot divulge those sources out of concern for reprisal.”
In January, the University announced a new policy on relationships between faculty and students. The new policy explicitly forbids consensual romantic or sexual relationships between all faculty members and undergraduate students. The previous policy, dated May 2013, only prohibited relationships between students and faculty with evaluative authority over them.
“When undergraduate students are involved, the difference in institutional power and the inherent risk of coercion are so great that no faculty member or coaching staff member shall enter into a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with a Northwestern undergraduate student, regardless of whether there is a supervisory or evaluative relationship between them,” the new policy reads.