USU responds after two women raped by former USU football player Torrey Green sue university

(Leah Hogsten | Tribune file photo) The Old Main Building at Utah State University. Two women have sued the school, saying campus officials failed to investigate and properly respond to their accusations of sexual assault against a former member of the school's football team.

Two of the women raped by former Utah State University football player Torrey Green are suing the university, accusing the Logan school of maintaining a dangerous environment where sexual assaults were known about and tolerated.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, says the university and its employees “acted with deliberate indifference” to the plaintiffs’ right — and the right of other female USU students — to a safe educational environment by failing to investigate and respond to multiple assault allegations, failing to provide adequate health and counseling services to victims, and failing to warn other students of the danger posed by Green.

“The conduct of Defendants, when viewed in sum, is shocking to the conscience,” the lawsuit states.

Green was convicted on eight charges — including five counts of rape and one count of object rape — in January, stemming from the accounts of six women who said they were assaulted between 2013 and 2015 when Green was a student-athlete.

He was later sentenced to a prison term of 26-years-to-life.

The charges against Green were filed in 2016 after the publication of an article by The Salt Lake Tribune that detailed the accounts of four women. At the time of that publication, no legal or academic action had been taken against him.

Included in the lawsuit as defendants are Utah State University, the Utah Board of Regents, the Utah State University board of trustees and two USU employees, Krystin Deschamps and Jenny Erazo, who work as the director of Student Conduct and Community Standards and the coordinator of USU’s Sexual Assault and Anti-Violence Information (SAAVI) office, respectively.

An attorney for the plaintiffs could not be reached for comment Monday.

USU spokesman Tim Vitale said Tuesday that Green had many victims at USU and in the broader community, and that the university would like to help victims reach closure.

“USU has publicly acknowledged it fell short in several ways in addressing sexual assaults on campus in the Torrey Green case,” Vitale said, “and we are continuing to address those university-wide systemic problems.”

But Vitale also pushed back on the characterizations of the university and its employees in the lawsuit.

“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,” he said.

An internal investigation conducted by Utah State University in 2016 found that multiple campus employees had failed to act after learning of possible sexual misconduct, and that there was confusion among employees regarding which departments were responsible for handling and responding to reports.

Details of that investigation were released last year as part of a settlement with The Salt Lake Tribune in a lawsuit that sought to block public release of records.

The settlement with The Tribune came one month after a separate $250,000 settlement with a former USU student who sued the school after being raped at a fraternity house.

That student’s attacker, Jason Relopez, pleaded guilty to attempted rape and forcible sexual abuse and is referenced in the new lawsuit as another instance — in addition to Green — when campus officials allegedly failed to investigate reports of sexual assault and ensure the safety of USU students.

“Neither the University nor the individual defendants properly investigated accusations made against students," the lawsuit states, "or [took] appropriate remedial actions to ensure that all students were afforded equal access to the University’s educational opportunities.”

The Salt Lake Tribune generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse. The two plaintiffs are asking the courts to award attorneys fees as well as both economic and noneconomic damages to be determined at trial.