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At the start of the new year, the University of North Alabama filed a motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit against them filed by a former student.
The suit claims the university tried to cover up the former students alleged sexual assault by a former professor.
The former student who filed the suit is named as "Jane Doe." Doe and her attorney's brought the lawsuit against UNA in August 2017. Doe claims former UNA professor David Dickerson sexually assaulted her while on an overnight university trip to Orlando Florida in 2015.
According to Doe's lawsuit, the university never took a written statement about the incident from her and never reported it to police. The lawsuit also claims UNA failed to do proper background checks on Dickerson.
In a set of new court documents filed on Jan. 4, eight UNA employees from the president down to the Title IX coordinator each give an outline of the steps they took to get Dickerson off campus and what they say they did to protect Jane Doe. The documents also go into details about the university's investigation into Dickerson.
UNA's Title IX coordinator, Tammy Jacques, stated in her court filings, said she was made aware of a possible Title IX violation on Nov. 24 2015, about incidents involving Jane Doe and David Dickerson.
She said since it was close to Thanksgiving break and the information she had was incomplete she decided to contact Doe after the break. On Dec. 1 Doe and Jacques were supposed to meet, but Jacques claims Doe canceled last minute.
Jacques said in court documents, "She told me she did not want to meet with me. She told me she did not want to go forward and did not wish to file any kind of report. She would not discuss with me anything that happened on the trip -- just that she did not want to do anything."
According to court documents, UNA officials also tried to reach out to Jane Doe's roommate from the Orlando trip, but she never responded to them.
On Dec. 2 and 3 Jacques said two male students, who were on the Orlando trip and allegedly took pictures of Dickerson's behavior, were interviewed. Jacques said they witnessed Jane Doe and Dickerson "making out at the swimming pool during the Orlando trip."
In Jane Doe's lawsuit she claims Dickerson was pawing at her while she was at the pool area and kept touching her, which made her feel uncomfortable so she left the swimming pool area.
On Dec. 8 UNA officials interviewed Dickerson. At that meeting they say he "admitted to some but not all of the interaction with the plantiff in the swimming pool. He denied all other suggestion of inappropriate interaction with Jane Doe."
Later on in the documents it says Jane Doe did meet with Jana Beaver, the College of Business associate dean and gave her a verbal statement of what happened on the Orlando trip.
Beaver stated in court documents she advised Doe not to come to campus in order to avoid Dickerson, and there were only a few days left in the semester. Beaver also advised Doe not to go to any locations outside of UNA where Dickerson would frequent, like downtown Florence.
On Dec. 9, 2015 Doe texted Beaver to tell her Dickerson was having a Christmas party with some of his students at a bar in downtown Florence. Beaver thanked her for the information and said she would contact some of the students and ask them not to attend the gathering.
UNA officials met on Dec. 14 and decided to ban Dickerson from campus and not renew his contract. UNA claims had they outright fired Dickerson he could have brought grievences and drawn out the process. They said their goal was to get him off campus as soon as possible.
Just last month, Dickerson filed a $7 million claim against UNA with the Alabama State Board of Adjustment.
UNA said in a statement, "Jane Doe is claiming on one hand that UNA should have fired Dickerson before his one-year contract ran out. Dickerson on the other hand is claiming that his employment should not have been terminated at all."
UNA officials said all of the claims should be dismissed and if they are not, they will ask the court to add Dickerson as a party to the lawsuit so they court system can decide whether Dickerson is responsible for injury to Jane Doe.
You can click here to read UNA's full statement on the latest filings in the Jane Doe case.
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