Two former Boise State University student-athletes who accused school officials of failing to stop a star male track athlete from sexually harassing female teammates have reached an out-of-court settlement with the university.
The settlement was reached Dec. 16, and Fourth District Judge Steven Hippler dismissed the case Wednesday, according to online court records. It was dismissed with prejudice, which means the plaintiffs cannot file another suit with the same claims.
“Our clients are satisfied with the settlement negotiated during mediation and are looking forward to their futures,” said attorney Rebecca Rainey of Boise law firm Fisher Rainey Hudson. The local law firm was working with nationally known attorney Gloria Allred, who has handled similar suits.
Rainey said she could not discuss the terms of the settlement.
“All parties are satisfied with the resolution forged in mediation, and Boise State University remains committed to the safety and well-being of all of its students,” Boise State spokesman Greg Hahn said.
The Statesman does not generally name sexaul assault victims. The plaintiffs sued Boise State; neither former Boise State Head Track Coach J.W. Hardy nor the male athlete accused of sexual misconduct were named as defendants.
The plaintiffs, both freshmen at Boise State in 2011, sued the university in 2014. They alleged that they were sexually assaulted and were subjected to ongoing harassment by a male teammate, and the university failed to immediately act because he was a star athlete.
In September, Judge Hippler denied Boise State’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that the case would go to trial on Jan. 5.
One of the plaintiffs “raised evidence that her report of the rape was largely ignored and she was left unsupported and forced to fearfully co-exist with (the male athlete) on a daily basis,” Hippler wrote in his 36-page ruling.
According to court documents, the university began investigating allegations of sexual misconduct by the male athlete in 2013, after President Bob Kustra received an anonymous e-mail stating that a track athlete had “raped multiple former and current students at Boise State.”
An investigation headed by the Office of the Dean of Students determined that Coach Hardy was aware of allegations of sexual assault on a female track athlete at an off-campus house party by “current or former members of the men’s track team,” but he did not report the incident to university authorities, according to an affidavit by then-Athletic Director Mark Coyle.
One of the plaintiffs said that she was brushed off by Hardy when she reported being sexually assualted, according to the lawsuit.
“Coach Hardy said that he could not help her because she had consumed a minor amount of alcohol before the rape,” the lawsuit says. “He failed to inform her of her right to file a criminal complaint against the BSU perpetrator, and even failed to provide her with information regarding available mental health services.”
As a result of the 2013 investigation sparked by the anonymous e-mail to Kustra, Hardy was put on administrative leave and soon after was notified that his contract would not be renewed, court documents show. The athlete accused of rape and harassment was suspended from the university.