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A general view of Neyland Stadium, home of the Tennessee Volunteers. (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Title IX

Five of eight women suing University of Tennessee say they were assaulted by football players

By WITW Staff on February 25, 2016

Eight plaintiffs, all identified as Jane Does, are suing the University of Tennessee for violation of Title IX policies meant to protect students from gender discrimination, claiming the school created an environment for female students by showing a “deliberate indifference and a clearly unreasonable response after a sexual assault that causes a student to endure additional harassment,” according to The Tennessean. Five of the women claim they were assaulted by football players, one woman said she was assaulted by a basketball player, another was allegedly assaulted by a non-athlete at a party hosted by a football player, and another transferred for fear or retribution after helping a friend who reported having been raped by a football player, the lawsuit describes.

Von Pearson, Yemi Makanjuola, A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams, Riyahd Jones, and a football player named as John Doe are among the accused athletes. The lawsuit suggests that football players were favored and disciplined lightly even after accusations were made and that UT condoned dozens of instances of bad behavior outside of the claims of the Jane Doe plaintiffs that included sexual harassment, assault, underage drinking, and armed robbery.

Read the full story at The Tennessean.