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Defense Win in Title IX Lawsuit

In a rare defense win, a jury ruled against a woman claiming that Rachel Carson Middle School violated her rights under Title IX by ignoring her complaints of sexual harassment and assaults when she was a seventh-grader at the school. Most such cases settle out because juries are prone to not only find in favor of alleged victims, but award eye-watering settlements.  

In this case, however, the school introduced social media posts and text messages from the victim dating back to 2011. Those posts and messages, the defense argued, showed that the sexual contact was consensual.

 I don't know exactly how the defense team found those documents, but the verdict reinforces the importance of contemporaneous statements. As the article noted in this case, “While the trial dragged on for more than a month, the eight-person civil jury at U.S. District Court in Alexandria needed only a few hours of deliberation Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning before reaching a unanimous verdict rejecting all of her claims against all defendants.”

The woman, who was identified in court papers only by her initials, sued Fairfax County Public Schools under Title IX, a law that guarantees girls and women equal educational access. The lawsuit alleged school officials at Rachel Carson Middle School in Reston ignored her complaints that she endured sexual harassment and sexual assaults inside and outside of the school back in 2011 and 2012, when she was a seventh-grader.


youth services law, ausburn_deborah, title ix, schools, sexual harassment, sexual assault, insights