Joshua Engel Quoted On Oregon State Lawsuit and Campus Sexual Assault Investigation

A recent Daily Beast article highlights a lawsuit against Oregon State alleging that the University fostered a “sexually violent culture” at the school in the ’90s, where predatory athletes brutally assaulted female students with impunity.  The $7.5 million suit, filed this week against OSU deals with an alleged assault in 1999.  The student claims she was drugged and raped at an off-campus apartment “and that she reported the alleged attack to OSU’s sexual assault counselor—only to be blamed, shamed, and discouraged from pursuing disciplinary action.”

As part of the article, Joshua Engel spoke generally about campus sexual assault investigations.

Joshua Engel, a civil rights lawyer in Ohio and former prosecutor in Massachusetts, also attributes the shift within school administrations in recent years to “a changing of cultural attitudes.” He argues that counselors and administrators are indeed more receptive to victims, but that administrators are ill-equipped to conduct a proper investigation into victim allegations.

“Most of these people don’t have law enforcement experience, they don’t have prosecutorial experience, and they don’t really know how to get the truth or lack of truth in sexual assault cases,” Engel said.

“While I have run into a couple of Title IX investigators who had an agenda, my experience with them is mostly that they are well-meaning people who just don’t have the tools to get to the heart of these issues.”