SALT LAKE CITY — A new lawsuit was filed against Utah State University by two women who accused convicted rapist Torrey Green of sexually assaulting them. The lawsuit alleges the university created a dangerous environment, violated Title IX and the women’s civil rights.
The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Utah, names the university, as well as the USU board of regents and board of trustees, as defendants in the case.
Also named as defendants are Krystin Deschamps, who was a student conduct coordinator and assessment specialist for USU; and Jenny Erazo, a coordinator for the university’s sexual assault and anti-violence information, or SAAVI, office, according to the lawsuit.
Green, a former USU football player, was convicted earlier this year of raping five women and sexually assaulting a sixth while he was a student at USU. He was sentenced to at least 26 years at the Utah State Prison, and he currently faces a February trial in another rape case.
The suit alleges that before and during the assaults detailed in the suit occurred, “a dangerous environment existed at Utah State University where sexual assaults were known about and tolerated by the University and the individual defendants.”
The suit also alleges the university repeatedly “failed to investigate Green, implement appropriate remedial action or remove Green from campus to ensure the safety of its students.”
It also alleges that the university failed to comply with Title IX requirements by refusing to take action to protect the plaintiffs and other female students, and allowing Green to remain on campus by renewing his football scholarships.
The status of Green as a USU student and football player meant that the plaintiffs trusted him, which allowed them to be more vulnerable and led to him assaulting them, the suit alleges.
In a statement, USU officials said the university has acknowledged that it "fell short" in addressing sexual assaults in that case.
"Torrey Green had many victims both at USU and in the community, and the university would like to assist USU students who were victims to reach closure," the statement said. "USU has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the Torrey Green case, and we are continuing to address those university-wide systemic problems. This lawsuit, however, as filed, relies on countless incorrect assumptions, misrepresents how universities are able to address sexual assaults, and contains a number of outright factual errors."
The statement did not identify any of those factual errors or elaborate further on the lawsuit.
The attorneys for the two women said in a statement Tuesday that the university “did not live up to its legal or moral obligations when dealing with the accusations made by these brave women.”
The statement also said local law enforcement “finally brought Green to justice” and that the school placed its football team ahead of the safety of its students.
“Utah State University placed a premium on its football team at the expense of the physical safety of its students,” the statement read. “While being on actual notice of Torrey Green’s repeated sexual assaults against multiple victims, Utah State University renewed Green’s scholarship each year, gave him a prominent position on the school’s football team, granted him access to campus until his graduation, and even provided false information to his victims which had the effect of discouraging them from pursuing charges against him.”
KSL.com does not typically name victims of sexual assault.
The lawsuit also mentions two other former USU students who were accused of sexually assaulting fellow students before Green: Ryan Wray and Jason Relopez.
Wray, a former fraternity president at USU, was sentenced to six months in jail in 2015 after pleading guilty to attempting to sexually abuse a woman who had passed out at a party.
Relopez was sentenced to a year in jail in 2016 after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two younger women who were part of USU’s Greek system.
The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial in the case, as well as economic damages to be determined at trial and attorney fees, according to the suit. They also seek non-economic damages and any further relief the court grants, the suit states.
Contributing: Lauren Bennett, KSL.com