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A male student at the University of Notre Dame claims a female administrator pressured him into a sexual relationship with her daughter, according to a lawsuit filed Friday against the prestigious Catholic school.
The suit alleges the student, who is black, was subjected to sexual harassment and racial discrimination by the defendant, who is white.
Neither are identified in the lawsuit, which says the university employee, an academic coach to student athletes at the Indiana school, was “commanding, directing, encouraging and convincing the Plaintiff to engage in sexual relations” with her daughter.
That included interrogating the student about the “nature, frequency, and quality of the sexual activities” he had with her daughter, and making “racially charged comments about his sexual prowess and genitalia,” said the suit, filed by law firm Anderson, Agostino & Keller in St. Joseph Circuit Court.
Other black male students, including members of the university football and basketball teams, were also targeted, the complaint said.
The student enrolled at Notre Dame in 2014 and met with the defendant for academic support in spring 2015, at which point she “immediately” coordinated the relationship, the suit added, going so far as to provide hotel rooms and condoms for them. She also allegedly tried to pressure the student to convert to Catholicism.
When the student attempted to end the sexual relationship, the administrator allegedly “engaged in threatening behavior” against him.
The university was aware of the hostile environment that the administrator was creating for black male students, the plaintiff's attorneys contend in the lawsuit. School officials were informed of the incident with “information, data, and an opportunity to fully respond to this situation,” but “failed to act to remedy the situation,” they said.
The complaint says that Notre Dame had a responsibility to “provide Plaintiff John Doe with the same racially and sexually safe educational environment that it provides to similarly situated non-African-American male students.”
Notre Dame dismissed the lawsuit's claims in a statement.
“The allegations against the University of Notre Dame in the complaint are unfounded, as are gratuitous and unfounded references to 'student-athletes' — an allegation that is nothing more than a cynical attempt to attract publicity," said university spokesman Paul Browne.