Educaton Law

New defamation suit by Northwestern prof is 4th case filed over student's claim of sexual assault

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Northwestern University

Northwestern University campus. Image from Shutterstock.

A student’s claim that a Northwestern University philosophy professor was involved in sexual misconduct in 2012 has sparked four lawsuits this year.

In February, the woman filed a Title IX suit against the school in federal court, saying that it had mishandled her complaint that professor Peter Ludlow got her drunk and sexually attacked her at a time when she was underage, according to the Chicago Tribune (sub. req) and the Daily Northwestern. An earlier Daily Northwestern article provides additional details.

In a second suit filed later the same month in Illinois state court seeking damages from Ludlow, the student alleged that he had violated the Illinois Gender Violence Act.

In June, Ludlow filed a federal lawsuit against Northwestern, also contending that the school mishandled its internal investigation by violating his Title IX rights.

And on Tuesday, the professor filed a Cook County Circuit Court suit against the student, seeking damages for alleged defamation. He contends that she made false statements to the school and the media because he rebuffed her advances after they attended an art show together. The incident occurred months after a class he taught in which she was a student had concluded, he says.

Northwestern representatives have declined to comment specifically on the litigation, but they have said the university has appropriate policies and procedures in place, according to the articles.

Updated Oct. 30 to clarify the nature of the suit in the headline and identify the professor.

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