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Title IX lawsuit alleges that SMU provided inadequate medical treatment for women's rowing team

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Dallas News

Jan. 19, 2018

A Title IX lawsuit filed Friday alleges that SMU provided inadequate medical and training resources to its women's rowing team, leading to lifelong injuries for eight former and current student-athletes.

The plaintiffs say they suffered labral tears in one or both hips that will require multiple hip replacements throughout their lives. The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, alleges that these are rare injuries even in the rowing community and that the SMU medical staff provided substandard care that would not have been found acceptable on a men's athletic team.

"We know of at least 15 girls or more possibly just in the last eight years with the same exact injury," plaintiff Kelly McGowan said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. "I am almost positive that if there were 15 football players or 15 basketball players that had the same injury by the same coaches in eight years, I do not believe [SMU] would have let that go on."

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Female Rowers File Civil Lawsuit Against SMU

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CBS News 11 Dallas

Story Excerpt - January 19, 2018

Clouse and McGowan are now part of a team of eight current and former SMU rowing team players suing the university on claims of negligence and discrimination. “I stand before you unable to walk or sit without pain. Poor coaching, training technique and inadequate supervision led us to this place,” McGowan said Friday morning.

The eight women claim SMU violated Title IX rules, requiring equal treatment for men and women in college athletic programs based on the school’s investment in coaching, training and medical oversight.

“SMU had the opportunity and ability to correct this, to provide equality to its rowers. It chose not to,” attorney Alex Zalkin said during a news conference for four of the eight women listed in the suit.

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What’s Really Behind the Backlash to Women Seeking Title IX Protection Today?

What’s Really Behind the Backlash to Women Seeking Title IX Protection Today?

To address the question of why we are seeing a backlash against women seeking Title IX protection on college campuses we must understand some fundamental truths.  First, to this day women are treated as an underclass in academia and in the workplace. 

This is despite civil rights legislation that was passed in the 1970s to foster equal access and equal pay for women in the job market (Title VII), and equal access to academic opportunities in education (Title IX). The idea was to eliminate covert or overt hostility to women that served to impede the ability or the desire of women to compete equally with men for the fundamental right to an education and to a good job at a fair and equal wage.

As a society, we have failed women in both settings.  The failurein academia operates as a gateway to discrimination in the work place.  For this reason, it is vitally important that we understand the failings of institutions of higher learning in this country to promote gender equality, and to provide women with equal and safe access to educational opportunities.  Correcting this historical problem is not as difficult as one might believe.  The blueprint has been provided by the federal Department of Education for almost two decades.

Since the election of the current President and the appointment of Betsy Devos as Education Secretary and the head of the U.S. Department of Education, there have been challenges and recriminations by a crescendo of voices 

suggesting that those accused of sexual misconduct towards women students have been and are being discriminated against in favor of an attitude that presumes the accusations to be true and a bias towards coddling the accuser at the cost of due process.  The problem is that this backlash is focused on the “wrong syllable.”  The real issue is not that universities aren’t getting it right in a debate over he said- she said.  They haven’t been getting it right, because they have systematically ignored the guidance given to them by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the arm of the Department of Education (DOE) responsible for implementing and enforcing Title IX.

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The Laws Targeting Campus Sexual Assault

The Atlantic. Sept. 11, 2015"Between now and the time that college students pack up for Thanksgiving break, more sexual assaults will happen on campuses nationwide than during any other time of the year. The “Red Zone,” as this period is commonly known, is a time when new students are adjusting to the novelty and freedom of college life—and are thus particularly vulnerable to sexual assault. Now that a new academic year is starting up, though, some activists and administrators are hopefulthat significant changes are underway as a result of new regulations designed to force schools to proactively confront sexual violence on campus."CLICK HERE to read the full article.
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Huff Post on Campus Sexual Assault

Huff Post.  August 28, 2015During the last week of August, HuffPost Live launched a weeklong series investigating campus sexual assault and the issues many victims can face when reporting rape to universities. Host Zerlina Maxwell sat down with Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama; Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California system, and numerous other victims and advocates to figure out how we can combat the widespread epidemic.Click Here to See Full Story.
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Elgin resident to be featured in TLC documentary on child sex abuse

Daily Herald. August 7, 2015"Erin Merryn has encouraged schools to educate students on child sexual abuse for more than five years, and now she'll be featured in a TLC documentary on the topic set to air Aug. 31."CLICK HERE to read full article.
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Jehovah’s Witnesses covered up child sex abuse dating back to 1950s

NEWS.com.au July29, 2015"On Monday, a national inquiry held in Sydney revealed more than 1000 allegations of child sexual abuse in churches around Australia were covered up by generations of Jehovah’s Witnesses.The royal commission heard from church elder Max Horley, who admitted that as a member of the Jehovah’s Witness congregation in Narrogin, WA, during the 1980s, he witnessed notes from victims being destroyed to prevent them from “falling into the wrong hands”.CLICK HERE to read full article.
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Child sex abuse survey confirms, reveals problems

Tallahassee Democrat. June 3, 2015"One in three Florida women and one in five men say they’ve been sexually abused before the age of 18.That’s according to a recent Internet survey of more than 1,000 Floridians, conducted by Sachs Media Group for the Lauren’s Kids foundation. Those who conducted the poll say it both supports common perceptions about child sexual abuse and indicates that barriers exist to reporting such crimes."Click Here to read article.
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Bill Would Give Sex Abuse Victims 20 More Years to Sue

Philadelphia Magazine. April 7, 2015“It often takes victims of sexual abuse years or decades to have the courage to share their traumatic experiences,” Teplitz said in a prepared statement. “This bill would allow victims to seek justice and have their day in court.”Click Here to Read Full Article
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Spanish Language TV Coverage of AYSO Lawsuit - Noticias 34

Noticias 34 Los Angeles. March 3, 2014
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Sex abuse settlement spares Boy Scouts from turning over more 'perversion' files

Dallas Morning News. August 21, 2014"The Boy Scouts of America have settled a lawsuit filed by a former San Antonio Scout who said his adult leader abused him, officials on both sides said Thursday.  The settlement will not require the Irving-based BSA to turn over any more of its internal files on sexual abuse complaints, which were logged for decades but often not disclosed to authorities."Childhood sexual abuse attorneys Irwin Zalkin and Devin Storey, also represent former Boy Scouts who were victims of sexual abuse.CLICK HERE to read full article.
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Testigos de Jehová pagarán 13.5 mdd por abuso sexual en California

Uniradioinforma.comThere have been numerous articles in the Spanish language press about the recent Court award to the Zalkin Law Firm client who was a victim of childhood sexual abuse in a Jehovah's Witnesses Congregation in San Diego. Since many victims of Jehovahs Witnesses sexual abuse may be Spanish speaking, here are links to some of these articles.http://www.uniradioinforma.com/noticias/sandiego/305232/testigos-de-jehova-pagaran-13.5-mdd-por-abuso-sexual-en-california.htmlhttp://noticias.starmedia.com/insolito/testigos-jehova-deberan-pagar-indemnizacion-victima-abuso-sexual.htmlhttp://www.articolotre.com/2014/11/i-testimoni-di-geova-condannati-a-risarcire-135-milioni-di-dollari-per-abusi-su-minori/
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It’s Time Colleges Addressed Childhood Sexual Abuse Too

Goodmenproject.com  October 27, 2014Sexual abuse attorneys across the nation are beginning to see more cases of sexual violence on college campuses, and one report suggests the lack of support for victims of childhood abuse may only add to the problem."The focus on college sexual violence is an important one, but such a narrow scope fails to provide support and address an even greater number of students, faculty and staff who walk onto our campus having already experienced sexual traumaas children. One in four women and one in six men have had an unwanted or abusive sexual experience in childhood."Click to Read Full Article. 
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New campaign to raise child sexual abuse awareness

The Philadelphia Tribune. September 22, 2014.Any sexual abuse attorney will tell you that awareness is the key to ending the problem. This Philadelphia Tribune article takes a closer look at one new program to help familiarize parents with the problem so they can protect their children."The program, “Parents in the Know,” is intended to provide families with information they need to protect their children from sexual abuse from anyone, not just strangers but biological parents and their spouses or dating partners."Click to Read Article. 
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Rotherham: Sorry isn't good enough. When will Britain learn to protect its children?

The Observer. August 30. 2014Even for sexual abuse attorneys, the report on the systemic child abuse in Rotherham, England, is frightening. More than 1,400 young victims exploited and abused over 16 years, and the signs of ongoing abuse was ignored by police and public officials.This excellent editorial shows how Great Britain is struggling to come to grips with the magnitude of these crimes and what should be the next steps."The inquiry's findings are depressingly familiar. Systemic sexual abuse of children is not new. Whether perpetrated by Asian gangs or Catholic priests, BBC stars or members of parliament, in inquiry after inquiry, the same themes recur. Too brown, too religious, too famous, too powerful: the excuses for the failure to tackle toxic cultural enclaves that house the abuse of children may differ, but they always exist. As do the disbelief with which police and social services treat vulnerable children, the bullying and intimidation of whistleblowers and the failure of regulators to pick up blatant abuse."Click to Read Editorial 
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Solano leaders turn out for child sexual abuse awareness presentation

The Reporter News.  August 28, 2014As sexual abuse lawyers, uplifting news is rare, but this certainly is. One community is taking sexual abuse seriously enough to train community leaders. "Mayors, city council members, county supervisors, police and medical officials and other community leaders turned out en masse Thursday for a talk on child sexual abuse in Solano and the need for awareness training.Hosted by Hazel Payne, Miss Vacaville 2013, and Christina Baird, a Vacaville community services commissioner, the discussion combined personal testimony with statistics, visual aids and a panel collaboration to highlight the issue."Click to read full story. 
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Father tells young daughter not to worry about sexual abuse as ‘Jehovah sees everything and will sort it out,’ court hears

Mobile News.com. August 27,2014.  South AustraliaVictims are speaking out in other countries against the childhood sexual abuse they suffered in Jehovah’s Witnesses congregations that so many Jehovah's Witness abuse attorneys have discovered.  Here is an article from South Australia that furthers the point.Click to read full article.  
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Student Activists Keep Pressure On Campus Sexual Assault

NPR. August 26, 2014Campus sexual assault lawyers know that the number of cases is growing, and as one NPR report demonstrates, student activists are helping to protect others. "Georgetown is not among the more than 70 colleges being investigated for how they've handled sexual assault cases; in fact, it's ahead of many others on the issue. But Jha says the problem is a national epidemic. About 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted in college, as are some men, and Jha has become active beyond her own campus. Last winter Jha joined a group that uses social media to spread the word that schools are bound to try to protect students from sexual assault under a federal law called Title IX."Click to read and Listen to Full Story.
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Male victims of child sexual abuse are twice as likely to be out of work due to illness

Irish News. August 15, 2014.Sexual abuse lawyers see the many consequences in victims' lives, but an Irish News report suggests one more to add to the list. Keep reading for more:Men who have been sexually abused in childhood are twice as likely to be out of work due to sickness and disability, a major ESRI study reveals.  It is the first research into the economic impact of abuse on the lives of adult survivors and confirms the knock-on effects for household income are "real and substantial".Click to read full article.
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Justice Denied for Abused Children

New York Times. Editorial. August 13, 2014.

As sex abuse attorneys, it can be tough to see the lack of justice for abused children. This New York Times editorial only furthers that point.

While Massachusetts and Hawaii have taken steps forward to extend statue of limitations for childhood sexual abuse victims, legislation in New York is still stalled. This editorial calls on Governor Cuomo to step forward to support Assemblywoman Margaret Markey’s Child Victims Act which would give child-sexual-abuse victims more time to file both civil and criminal complaints and provide a one-year window for filing expired claims. The editorial clearly statutes that this important legislation “… will continue to languish until Mr. Cuomo, who has been missing in action on the matter and is now seeking re-election, confronts intense lobbying by leaders of the Roman Catholic Church”.

Click to read full editorial.

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