A 20-year-old student–identified in legal papers only as Jane Doe–filed suit against Boston University this month, claiming the school failed to protect her from an alleged assault last fall.The plaintiff was a junior at BU when she allegedly awoke to find former MIT basketball player Samson Donick sexually assaulting her in her dorm room, asking her, “Baby, do you want some more?” In the ensuing criminal case, Donick pleaded not guilty after being indicted by a grand jury this May. He has since left Boston for his home in Tiburon, California.
The lawsuit, which was filed in Suffolk Superior Court, claims that BU and BU officials created a hostile environment, leading to the assault of Jane Doe, by failing to lawfully enforce state and federal laws regarding the response to and redress of sex-based violence and assaults, about which it knew or should have known.
The lawsuit alleges negligence, a violation of Doe’s freedom from sexual assault, and breach of contract for failing to provide the promised safe student housing. Four men with no affiliation with BU were signed into the dormitory, called Student Village 2 (StuVi2), at 33 Harry Agganis Way last October. Two of these men, including Donick, broke into Doe’s unlocked room in the 26-story tower. University police indicate that surveillance footage reveals the men in the stairwell and retrieving their IDs from the sign-in desk later that evening.
Jane Doe’s lawyer told reporters that it was “very disturbing” that a group of men could roam StuVi2 completely undetected. “There was absolutely no intervention, prevention, security,” she said, “nothing to stop them.”
The lawsuit also seeks to change BU’s misconduct policy. The university has declined to comment. The website of BU’s sexual assault response and prevention center claims: “We provide rapid, confidential, compassionate, supportive, and free-of-charge advocacy and assistance to BU students who have experienced a traumatic incident.” Such incidents include “sexual assault, physical assault, interpersonal assault, and other crimes.”
Sabrina Hassan, a BU junior, however, said this month following an “emergency situation” on campus: “I feel like BU’s image, as far as how it reacts to sexual assault, isn’t the best.” This fall, almost exactly a year after Doe’s alleged rape, another sexual assault was reported in a BU dormitory. The assault allegedly occurred in Warren Towers at 700 Commonwealth Ave. at around 3 pm on Sunday, October 23. The investigation of the assault is ongoing.
A 2007 study indicated that one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college. More than 90% of sexual assault victims on college campuses do not report the assault, according to a 2000 study. A 2010 study revealed that 63.3% of self-reporting men at one university admitted committing repeat rapes.
If you have been harmed by someone else’s assault, you may need the assistance of a sexual assault lawyer to seek compensation. At the Neumann Law Group, our Massachusetts attorneys provide trustworthy legal representation to victims all over the state. Contact us toll-free at 800-525-NEUMANN or use our online form to set up a free consultation.
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Student Sues Northeastern University for Mishandling of Assault Case, Neumann Law Group, November 9, 2016.
Family of Murdered Massachusetts High School Teacher Sues for Wrongful Death, Neumann Law Group, October 19, 2016.