EVANSVILLE — A former college student has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of Evansville, alleging former men's basketball coach Walter McCarty sexually assaulted her.
The woman, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, said the University of Evansville violated federal law, specifically Title IX by failing to provide a safe environment.
Title IX protections are meant to protect students from gender discrimination and violence.
Doe, a former student trainer, is represented by Carmel attorney Jeff Gibson of law firm Wagner Reese and attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel of Dallas, Texas.
The lawsuit alleges University of Evansville officials showed “deliberate indifference” to student, employee, and community reports about McCarty's sexual misconduct.
“The school was given more than ample notice of McCarty's pattern of harassment and inappropriate conduct with female students, employees, and community members,” said co-counsel Jeff Gibson. "Despite this ample notice, they failed to take meaningful action, and instead allowed McCarty to continue."
The University only gave verbal warnings to the former NBA star in response to the series of documented reports, which began in June of 2018, the lawsuit alleges.
McCarty sexually assaulted Doe in December of 2019, according to the lawsuit. As a result of the assault, Doe experienced severe stress, academic setbacks, and threats of retaliation from McCarty, her attorneys allege.
"It’s stunning that this university shrugged off a lengthy series of complaints, made to multiple campus officials,” said Simpson Tuegel. "If the university had just paid attention to what a long line of women was trying to tell them, it could have stopped a woman from being raped. It was no secret to university officials that McCarty was a predator, but they sat on their hands and did nothing.”
Water McCarty was hired as Head Coach on March 22, 2018.
According to the university, he was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 26, 2019, pending the outcome of an independent investigation conducted by national law firm Cozen O’Connor.
Walter McCarty was fired as Men’s basketball coach on Jan. 21, 2020.
The university provided the following statement to WRTV:
“The University of Evansville disputes the legal claims from Jane Doe and her attorney. The University is confident it responded appropriately to all reports of misconduct regarding Mr. McCarty based on information it actually knew at the time; the University is similarly confident it responded reasonably to Jane Doe’s report. UE looks forward to addressing the specific allegations in court, not in the media.
In all that UE does, the safety and security of our students comes first. The University is wholly committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all. Our Title IX policies are designed to protect the entire campus community.”
McCarty's position as her superior put Doe in an uncomfortable situation when the coach began sending her inappropriate messages on Instagram, Snapchat, and text which escalated to him pressuring her to visit his home, according to Doe’s attorneys.
When Doe agreed to the coach's repeated insistence that she come to his residence on December 9, 2019, she texted that she could only stay for five minutes.
But once inside, McCarty sexually assaulted her, according to the lawsuit.
Doe reported the assault to a campus counselor on December 12, 2019, according to the suit.
“The female students and employees who experienced this pattern of harassment and sexual misconduct are real people, real women who simply wanted a safe environment to learn and work in, and our University failed us,” said Doe. “I am heartbroken that my school knew about Coach McCarty’s misconduct before what happened to me and looked the other way. I will continue to go through this difficult process of holding the University accountable because I want to prevent other women from going through the same thing I did.” WRTV is working on getting a response from McCarty.
In a statement to ESPN on Monday night, and reported by ABC News, McCarty denied the woman's allegations.
"I've never assaulted anyone in my 47 years on this earth. It's disheartening that someone would make up such a vicious lie to gain financial rewards," he wrote. "I'm excited and look forward to clearing my name and exposing these untruths. I am certain my name and reputation with be restored when it's our time to do so and present the truth.
McCarty’s attorney, Jon Little, said he did not have non-consensual contact with anybody.
“This suit is opportunistic and it’s important for everyone to understand he did not have any supervisory authority over this woman,” said Little. “When people who make allegations like this, they make it really hard for people who really are manipulated, pressured or coerced.”