The University of Illinois' flagship campus at Urbana-Champaign is back in the spotlight after one of its professors was hit with a federal lawsuit on September 10, 2019. The lawsuit claims that the professor forced several international students into sexual favors and unpaid labor, and insinuated that the school did not do enough to protect them. However, like nearly all lawsuits based at least in part on Title IX rules, this one fails to describe what the school should have done.
Lawsuit Against Professor Claims Sex Trafficking and Indentured Servitude
The 87-page complaint, which was filed recently in federal district court at the Central District of Illinois, concerns one of the professors in the ProPublica investigation who allegedly weren't punished enough for their conduct. According to the plaintiffs, the professor of East Asian Languages and Culture became romantically entangled with multiple Chinese students. During the relationship, the professor was allegedly abusive, both sexually and physically. When another professor called him out on his conduct, he threatened the whistleblower.
In the lawsuit, multiple students accuse the Illinois professor of sex trafficking in the thought that his influence and favors, including getting good grades in his classes, were payment for sex.
The students also claim that the Illinois professor forced them to do unpaid academic work, including overseas.
When one of the students filed a Title IX complaint against the professor, it triggered an investigation that ended with him being put on paid leave before resigning with a $10,000 separation package.
College Not a Defendant in Lawsuit
Interestingly, the lawsuit only names the professor as a defendant – the University of Illinois is not being sued. Contrary to a recent ProPublica article, the lawsuit does not include claims against the school for failing to protect students. That idea, though, is insinuated throughout the lawsuit, and lawyers for the plaintiffs have suggested as much in interviews about the case.
Those claims against the college might be coming in a yet-unfiled lawsuit. However, there is also the distinct possibility that there simply isn't enough evidence against the college to implicate them in the case.
No Prophylactic Measures Suggested
While the lawsuit insinuates that the University of Illinois could have done more to protect its students from abuse, it does not say what measures it actually could have taken. This is typical of lawsuits over college sexual abuse or assault – alleged victims and plaintiffs merely claim that not enough was done, without saying what could have been done to protect them.
Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento
Anyone who has been accused of sexual misconduct on campus needs legal representation. With the pressures of Title IX pushing your college into finding you in violation of its code of conduct, it can feel like the deck is stacked against you.
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer who can help you fight against the allegation. He is also a national Title IX advisor who can help people and institutions navigate the difficult landscape of Title IX law.
Call him at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online.