Judge clears way for trial in student’s rape claim lawsuit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal judge in Providence has ruled that a lawsuit can proceed to trial in the case of a Rhode Island School of Design student who claims she was raped by another student during a study abroad program in Ireland in 2016.

U.S. District Judge John McConnell ruled last month that the female student’s claims that RISD was negligent can proceed to trial, rejecting a request by the college to dismiss the allegations, The Providence Journal reported.

McConnell said that while colleges should not be held liable for students’ misdeeds, the alleged rape occurred in a bedroom provided to the student by RISD and the student relied on the college to protect her from harm.

The lawsuit refers to the female student as Jane Doe and the alleged assailant as John Doe.

Jane Doe alleges John Doe raped her in her room in June 2016 on the first night of her term abroad in Ballyvaughan. Jane Doe reported the sexual assault and filed a formal complaint.

The judge’s ruling says John Doe was ordered to leave the program the next day and RISD suspended him for three years after he took responsibility for the sexual assault.

An RISD spokeswoman said school officials “look forward” to a jury hearing the evidence and noted the judge has dismissed one of Jane Doe’s claims.

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