Attorney: Student filed police report with help of Northwestern political science professor

Ciara McCarthy and Ally Mutnick

The Medill junior who filed a Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern also filed a police report describing the alleged sexual assault by philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow, her attorney said Wednesday.

It is unclear whether the student is pressing criminal charges against Ludlow.

The student’s attorney, Kevin O’Connor, sent out a statement late Wednesday night with more specific information about the lawsuit and the alleged assault. Early Thursday morning, O’Connor told The Daily there is not a simple answer to the question of whether or not the student tried to press criminal charges against Ludlow. He directed inquiries to the detective who assisted the student in filing the report.

Ludlow’s attorney, Kristin Case, told The Daily on Tuesday that to her knowledge no criminal charges had been filed against her client.

O’Connor said he believed the student filed the police report about a year after the alleged February 2012 incident.

It took time and persuading for the student to come forward to the police because she was “very intimidated by the potential for backlash,” O’Connor said in the statement.

The case became public Monday when the student filed a lawsuit against NU, claiming the University did not act on a sexual assault complaint she filed against Ludlow. In the lawsuit, the student said Ludlow sexually assaulted her after a trip to a downtown Chicago art show. The professor bought her alcohol and refused several requests to take the student back to Evanston. The student woke up the next morning in Ludlow’s bed after losing consciousness.

(Updated: Student sues Northwestern, claiming University ignored sexual assault findings)

In the statement, O’Connor also addressed the committee which the suit says the University created to determine a course of action with regards to the student’s complaint.

“We know of its existence and its decision through sources from inside NU,” he said in the statement. “Presently, we cannot divulge those sources out of concern for reprisal.”

According to the lawsuit, the committee recommended that Ludlow be fired but the University did not act on its recommendation.

(Day after lawsuit, Ludlow’s role at Northwestern unclear moving forward)

Included in the statement was a copy of an email sent to the student by Joan Slavin, director of the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention. In the email, dated April 11, 2012, Slavin disclosed the findings of her investigation to the student. On the night of the alleged incident, Ludlow “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward the student, Slavin wrote. The student woke up the next morning in Ludlow’s bed with his arms around her, Slavin concluded.

Slavin said she concluded Ludlow “discussed his desire to have a romantic and sexual relationship” with the student on the night of the alleged assault.

Slavin also advised the student to contact her in the event Ludlow retaliated against her in any way.

“Please let me know right away if you experience any behavior you believe is in retaliation for your raising this complaint,” she wrote in the email.

Slavin declined to comment on the case Tuesday.

The lawsuit says Ludlow denied the student’s allegations of sexual assault and threatened to sue her for defamation. The student reported the incident to Slavin, but no action was taken, according to the suit.

Political science Prof. Jacqueline Stevens was identified in the statement as a faculty advocate for the student. O’Connor said Stevens encouraged and accompanied the student to file the police report.

O’Connor said the student appreciated the public concern the lawsuit has generated.

“My client is deeply touched that the public has taken an interest in her case,” O’Connor said in the statement. “As one can imagine, this can be a very overwhelming experience for a person in her position.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @mccarthy_ciara

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @allymutnick