Most Michigan fans want the Brendan Gibbons rape scandal to "just go away" so they can be done with it. Too bad, they say, it could've been handled better, let's move on. Whenever we try to talk about it, they accuse us of "not caring about the girl" in the case.
Actually, it was the University of Michigan that didn't "care about the girl", even though she was one of their own student-athletes. The public records and event timelines that have been made available through several online sources clearly show that UM tried to cover-up the problem, or at least brushed it aside for several years.
These actions are in violation of "Title IX", a federal law that governs many aspects of public institutions. Dozens of lawyers will eventually handle this case from all sides, and judges (and perhaps juries) will adjudicate it. We're not lawyers here, but we'll do the best we can to explain it for you.
Here is a brief description of the relevant clause of this federal law, as it applies to the Brendan Gibbons rape scandal:
Here is the link to the source for this summary
Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault. A college or university that receives federal funds may be held legally responsible when it knows about and ignores sexual harassment or assault in its programs or activities. The school can be held responsible in court whether the harassment is committed by a faculty member, staff, or a student. In some cases, the school must pay the victim money damages.
of the legal obligations of schools that receive federal funding. The key phrase is "knows about and ignores"
. Let's break that statement down to its two constituent parts and review their application to this case.
"KNOWS ABOUT": Did the University of Michigan "know about" this case?
There is literally no question that UM "knew about" this case within several hours of its occurrence:
- The local police arrested Gibbons before sunrise and held him in jail for questioning. The arrest was reported in local newspapers with the suspect described as "a Michigan football player".
- Extensive police records were made about the case, so many that it is inconceivable that nobody mentioned anything to anybody on campus about it. Here are the reports.
- The victim was a scholarship-athlete at UM, and it defies all reasonable belief to think that she did not tell her coach(es) about the incident. She also must have told some friends, many of whom were also students and/or athletes, and story naturally would have spread to many people in the campus community.
- The local police conducted at least one "wellness check" on the victim, with records of the interviews on public file.
- According to this source, the victim met personally with as many as two dozen university officials to report the case and pursue justice. She was told there was nothing that could be done about it. Both Gibbons and his victim were reportedly re-located to different dormitories at least once each, moves that could not have happened without Michigan knowing about the case.
- If university officials hadn't heard about this case by November 2011 (two years afterwards), they certainly heard about it at the UM Board of Regents meeting held on November 17, 2011. It was at this meeting that Douglas Smith openly exposed the case to the President of the University, identifying Gibbons by name. Here is the source. (You will have to scroll way down the screen to find the remarks by Smith.)
There are numerous other "proofs" to establish that officials at the University of Michigan knew about the case against Brendan Gibbons. The next question is whether they "ignored it".
"IGNORED IT": Did the University of Michigan "ignore" this case?
We must remember how hard it is to "prove a negative" or to show that something is "not there". In order to do so, one must look for evidence that something "is there". The events reported in this case show UM essentially did nothing about this case.
This online source describes how UM proactively worked to protect a different student
from various assaults, and asks why the university didn't work so hard to protect the victim of Brendan Gibbons.
A short-cut answer to this question is to say that Michigan ignored the case up until they stopped ignoring it and expelled Gibbons from school after his playing days were just about over. The legal question is whether the four-year delay is long enough to constitute "ignoring". Most people would describe the 200-week lag-time as "ignoring", but this is where the lawyers and judges and/or juries will play their legal role.
Many UM apologists will claim that this whole story is just the result of an independent muckraker with an axe-to-grind and therefore has no credibility. Not according to The Bleacher Report
and many other national media outlets. And more independent groups are reporting the case
The smart people with their ears-to-the-ground are in position to know about this case and are trying to do something about it
. I'm talking about the STUDENTS at the University of Michigan who work for the "Michigan Daily", the same group that showed the world how many UM athletes major in "General Studies" a few years ago. The official UM student group is now chasing after the adults
in charge of the university who seemed to have covered-up the entire scandal. Hard to believe they will stopped short in their pursuit of justice.
And let's not forget that the case can be re-opened at any time. A recent M-Live report
quotes a local police detective as telling the victim four years ago that she need only make a request to have the case re-opened. And if the charges are First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, there is no statute-of-limitations at all
, meaning she has the rest of her life to make her choice to move forward with prosecution.
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