National Roundup

Kansas
Parents of alleged rape victim sue Univ. of Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The parents of a former University of Kansas student who says she was raped in university housing have filed a lawsuit against the school, claiming its residence halls are unsafe.
The university, however, said its campus housing is safe and the school works hard to ensure students’ safety.

James and Amanda Tackett’s daughter, Daisy Tackett, was a freshman at the University of Kansas when she said she was raped in a Jayhawker Towers apartment by another student-athlete in the fall of 2014, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Douglas County District Court. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, claims the university has misled the public by portraying the campus housing as safe.
The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Daisy Tackett, who attended high school in Dallas before going to Kansas, where she was a varsity rower, told the Lawrence Journal-World and The Dallas Morning News she wanted her name used.

She did not file a police report after the alleged rape, but filed a complaint about a year later with the university’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, which oversees compliance with state and federal laws and university policies on discrimination, sexual violence and other subjects.

She said she contacted the IOA office after learning that the student she accused of rape tried to assault a rowing teammate this past fall.

“At first I was reluctant,” she told The Dallas Morning News. “Then I realized if he’s assaulted two people, he has assaulted more or will assault more if we don’t do anything about it.”

The lawsuit asks for a judge to rule that the university violated the Consumer Protection Act and also order the school to cease representing its dorms as safe until they are “demonstrated” as such.

“In addition to the horrific assault of our daughter, we are concerned for the safety of all students at KU,” Amanda Tackett said in a statement. “We believe there are many more victims of on-campus crimes in the dorms. Had we known this, we would not have considered KU as an option.”

University spokeswoman Erinn Barcomb-Peterson told the Lawrence Journal-World in an emailed statement that campus housing is “absolutely safe” and that the university goes to great lengths to ensure residents’ safety, including training of residence assistants, security cameras, ID-card access and overnight security patrols throughout buildings.

“The suggestion that our residence halls are unsafe or that we misrepresent campus safety in our student recruitment is baseless,” she said.


Ohio
Court upholds  discipline of boy who stared at girl

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by a family upset over discipline their son received for staring at a girl in a seventh-grade classroom at a private school.

The court’s decision earlier this month determined a handbook governing disciplinary procedures at St. Gabriel Consolidated School was not a contract.

The 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals also found that even if it was a contract, the principal didn’t violate procedures by handing down a one-day suspension.

The case reached the courts after the boy’s parents unsuccessfully appealed the suspension to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and then decided to sue last year.

The ruling says the girl complained after the boy and another student backed her into a corner while staring at her when no teachers were present.

South Dakota
Mother suing over son’s death up against deadline

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — The mother of a teenage boy who died while in state custody is running out of time to find an attorney to handle her lawsuit against the state.

Dawn Van Ballegooyen is seeking unspecified monetary damages for the death of her son, Brady Folkens, 17, who died in December 2013 while at the State Treatment and Rehabilitation Academy, where he was held for skipping school and smoking marijuana. State officials said he died from lymphocytic myocarditis caused by parvovirus B19, which is considered a common virus, after it spread to his heart and damaged the organ.

But Dr. Lars Aanning, a retired surgeon from Yankton who frequently serves as an expert witness on medical cases, determined that the evidence from Brady’s autopsy and medical records doesn’t point to parvovirus B19 causing the heart damage. He believes the heart damage was most likely caused by an autoimmune reaction to minocycline, a medication that Brady was taking because of acne.

Van Ballegooyen claims that state officials administered the minocycline, even though Brady had a bad reaction to the medicine a year earlier, the Argus Leader reported.

“I didn’t even know he was on the medication until after he passed,” she said.

Van Ballegooyen sued in federal court in December 2014, alleging state negligence. But her attorneys withdrew a year ago, and after three extensions, a judge set a May 25 deadline for her to find new counsel.

Aanning’s review of the autopsy, which was performed by Dr. Raed Sulaiman, found that a key antibody that should have been present with a parvovirus B19 was not in Brady’s case, meaning that the virus wouldn’t have caused his heart to fail. Aanning also found evidence that the results from one test were substituted for the results of another test.

“I think nobody thought that anybody with a tooth’s comb would look over that autopsy report carefully,” Aanning said.

Sioux Falls lawyer Gary Thimsen, who’s representing the state, said he’s prevented by federal law from discussing specifics about Brady’s medical issues. But he said the state turned over all medical files counselors’ notes and all other records Van Ballegooyen has sought related to her son.

Sulaiman declined to comment on the autopsy.


South Carolina
Man sues county, investigator after cleared of murder

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — A Conway man who was cleared in a child’s death after spending nearly four years in prison is suing Horry County and the investigator who handled his case.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports that 38-year-old Robert Palmer filed the lawsuit last week, saying the ordeal cost him his job, kept him away from his family and left him with nightmares about what he endured in prison.

The lawsuit accuses the county, the state and police investigator David Weaver of malicious prosecution, false arrest and negligence.

In 2011, Palmer and his then-girlfriend Julia Shawnette Gorman were each given a 35-year sentence for homicide by child abuse after the 2008 death of Gorman’s 17-month-old grandson, Aydian Grimes.
The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed Palmer’s conviction in July, citing a lack of evidence.

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