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July 28, 2016 Comments (0) About Education

Lawsuit Alleges Culture of Harassment at Univ of Tennessee

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A lawsuit filed by six former female students from the University of Tennessee alleges?that a “hostile sexual environment” was made by the athletics department at the school going back to the 1990′s, including an accidents involving NFL star Peyton Manning from 1996.

The lawsuit alleges that Manning sexually assaulted a lady athletic trainer throughout his time as an undergraduate at the school. ?The incident was first reported in 2003, but received attention recently following a New York Daily report about the event and the trainer’s ensuring lawsuit?was widely-publicized on social media.

Filed last week, the UT lawsuit claims that although he would be a UT football player, Manning placed his naked genitals on the female trainer’s face while she was examining him. ?Manning has denied any wrongdoing, stating that he had been playing a prank on a fellow athlete by “mooning” him. ?However, the trainer,?Dr. Jamie Naughright, later filed a lawsuit against Manning in 2002 after finding out he had described her as “vulgar mouthed” in his?autobiography, “Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy,” reports Anita Wadhwani for IndyStar. ?That case was settled out of court in 2003.

In another lawsuit filed by six former female students, listed only as “Jane Does,” Manning is among 10 former players being charged with sexual assault or any other similar form of misconduct in an effort to prove the athletics department in the school includes a history of such behavior, arguing that it?“deliberately created (and helps to create) a hostile discriminatory sexual environment for female students” and “acted with deliberate indifference in response to incidents of sexual assault.”

According to the lawsuit, Jamie?Naughright, then Jamie Whited, who was the first female trainer within the school’s history, reported the incident involving Manning to the?Sexual Assault Crisis Center in Knoxville in 1996, stating that he had “sat on her face” while she was taking a look at an injury. ?The incident had been settled in 1997 having a condition that Whited leave her position at the school.

The lawsuit says that?Tim Rogers, the previous vice chancellor for?student life, stepped down in 2013 “in protest within the violation of Title IX and the UT administration’s and athletic department’s deliberate indifference towards the clear and offer danger of sexual assaults by UT athletes.”

The focus of the lawsuit, however, is on five other more recent incidents of sexual assault that?occurred in the school — in particular, an incident involving former UT basketball?player Yemi Makanjuola, who was found to be violating the student conduct code when he sexually assaulted a freshman. ?Makanjuola has denied all allegations.

An unnamed UT football player seemed to be cited?in the suit, as was an unnamed non-athlete charged with sexual assault after a party where UT football players served alcohol to a young woman. ?Former UT football players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, who are currently involved in separate trials on aggravated rape charges, are also cited.

Peyton Manning was a football player in?the NFL in 1998, becoming certainly one of its biggest stars. ?He\’s won Super Bowls with both Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos, including in 2016 to cap off what is expected to have been his final year playing the sport.

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