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USC Students Who Claim School Mishandles Rape Cases Say Feds Are Investigating

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(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Student activists who claim USC grossly mishandles rape and sexual assault cases said Saturday that the federal government has launched an investigation.

Members of the Student Coalition Against Rape — SCAR — filed an equal opportunity complaint with the U.S. Department of Education last spring.

At the time of the filing, other schools — including Dartmouth, Yale, Swarthmore, UC Berkely and Occidental — lodged similar charges about their administrations.

A SCAR spokeswoman said Saturday federal officials had notified the group that a probe had been launched.

The group said they would divulge more information at a Monday news conference.

A spokesman for the university, Carl Marziali, said he was not aware of the possible federal probe, but said a previous USC Division of Student Affairs statement on the issue addresses the complaint.

“USC takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously and had many resources available to assist students who experience unwanted sexual contact …” the statement said.

The school stated that “in all reported cases, we thoroughly investigate and take appropriate disciplinary, as well as interim remedial, action.”

But the USC statement also warned “the university’s disciplinary process cannot and does not take the place of the judicial system. Any student victim of a crime has the option of reporting it to the Los Angeles Police Department.”

The statement concludes by saying, The university realizes that alleged crimes within personal relationships can be especially difficult to process, and we offer confidential resources, such as the Student Counseling Center and the Center for Women and Men, to help students deal with such issues.”

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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