Going to a doctor for any reason means you are putting your health in the hands of a professional and you need to trust that they will act appropriately. What happens when that trust is violated?
This question of trust and responsibility has come to a head for a gynecologist formerly employed by The University of Southern California. The doctor in question is the subject of a lawsuit filed on behalf of 51 women against the university alleging sexual abuse over the course of his 30-year career at the school. The basis for the case, and the reason USC can be held civilly liable for the actions of an employee, lie in the provisions and interpretation of the federal statute known as Title IX.
How title IX applies
Many believe that Title IX addresses sex discrimination when it comes to college sports, however, the law can also be used to address instances of sexual abuse and harassment. In 1972, the United States Supreme Court ruled that students can seek financial compensation if there is evidence that a federally funded school has ignored sexual harassment or abuse.
The lawsuit alleges that USC concealed decades of complaints against the doctor, that included actions such as:
· Inappropriate language used during checkups
· Physical violation or abuse of patients under the guise of medical treatment
· Irrelevant questioning of patients’ sex life
If these actions are true, then the precedent is clear. The complainants have a strong case to recover monetary damages from the school for ignoring this pattern of abuse.
Sex abuse should have no place on campus
Campus sex abuse and harassment is tragically underreported, and it often seems as if colleges turn a blind eye to these activities. Victims should have their voices heard and receive compensation for the suffering they have faced. If you believe your school has ignored its duty to protect you from sexual abuse and harassment, you have options. Contact a lawyer familiar with Title IX sex abuse and harassment lawsuits.