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USC Students Protest School’s Handling Of Rape Allegations

EXPOSITION PARK (CBSLA.com) — Dozens of students staged a protest at the University of Southern California Monday against what they say is the administration’s mishandling of rape claims.

USC student Tucker Reed spoke exclusively to CBS2’s Kristine Lazar on Monday about what she and others say is the school’s unwillingness to discipline students accused of sexual violence against other students.

Reed said she was raped in 2010 by a then-boyfriend and fellow USC student. A few months ago, she identified him by name and photo on her blog.

“I had nothing left to lose,” said Reed.

After filing a complaint in November, Reed was notified in a letter last Thursday that her case was being closed without disciplinary action.

“I submitted a binder worth of emails and four taped recordings in which my rapist confesses to raping me,” said Reed.

USC student Francesa Bessey said she was raped her freshman year. She said she decided against filing a complaint with the university because she thought it would do no good.

“I know more than ten people at this school who have experienced sexual violence,” said Bessey. “I know zero people who have had their cases brought to a position where the rapists faced any sort of disciplinary action whatsoever.”

An attorney for Reed and roughly a dozen other female students expects to file a Title 9 complaint within the next week or so. Title 9 guarantees the right to an education and the protection of human and civil rights.

In April, students at Occidental College filed a similar complaint, alleging “deliberate indifference” by the administration to claims of rape by female students.

Both groups claim their schools downplay complaints of sexual violence and refuse to discipline the perpetrators.

“Students are not going to be silent the way they have in the past,” said Reed. “The stigma surrounding this is kind of evaporating.”

USC issued a statement late Monday that said they take all allegations of sexual abuse seriously and investigate each claim thoroughly. The statement said that some investigations have ended in serious sanctions, including expulsion.

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