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Federal Appeals Court Hears Oral Arguments In Title IX Suit Against Chadron State College

     A 3-judge panel of the federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments this week in a 2021 Title IX civil rights lawsuit that saw a jury award $300,000 to a former female student who’d been raped on campus.

      Title IX, among other things, requires schools receiving federal funds to protect students from sexual harassment.

George Martin, representing Chadron State, argued the school had met that requirement in the case of the woman, who was identified only as Jane Doe during her trial and in the appeal.

      Martin also told the judges the jury had been improperly instructed and he raised issues with an expert’s testimony during the 2021 trial.

      Much of what the appeals court heard was a repeat of arguments from the trial with Martin saying Chadron State had followed federal guidelines in the multiple actions it took to protect the woman while not expelling her attacker.

      Doe’s attorney, Maren Chaloupka of Scottsbluff, countered that by not expelling or removing the man from campus, the college had left her client feeling vulnerable and unable to have full access to the school’s educational opportunities.

    Appeals Court Judge David Stras seemed to agree with both sides. On one hand, he said Chadron State’s response was a “pretty bungled process” and that the disciplinary actions against the male student seemed like “a slap on the wrist at best.”

     Still, Judge Stras said that for a harassment claim, there needs to be a failure to take appropriate action to prevent future harassment and that he wasn’t sure this case was actionable since the male student didn’t harass Jane Doe after the college acted. 

      The 8th Circuit’s ruling on the Chadron State College appeal isn’t expected to be released for several months.

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