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31 women accuse UC Berkeley of botching sexual assault investigations

Current and former students file federal complaints alleging university administrators discouraged victims from reporting crimes.

February 26, 2014|By Jason Felch

During their meeting with administrators, the three freshmen were surprised to find a fourth Berkeley student there. She too said she had been assaulted by the man.

Karasek said she submitted her statement in May and assumed the matter was being investigated.

In September, Berkeley's Title IX coordinator, Denise Oldham, told Anais LaVoie, a student leader in the club, that Karasek's case had been resolved, without a hearing, through an early resolution process, according to the federal complaint.

"We see over 500 cases every year but are only able to seek formal disciplinary resolutions in two cases the previous year," Oldham told LaVoie, the complaint said.

Oldham gave the same statistic to another assault victim, according to the complaint. Berkeley's official statistics show there were 31 sexual assaults reported in 2012.

"I didn't say it," Oldham said in an interview. "That certainly sounds discouraging to me. It certainly wouldn't serve our office to discourage someone from reporting."

Oldham said that Berkeley does not use an early resolution for cases of sexual assault: "I can't imagine a situation where that would be appropriate."

Yet a December email sent to Karasek states: "This matter has been explored and resolved using an early resolution process..."

jason.felch@latimes.com

Times staff writer Jason Song contributed to this report.

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