A former student is suing the University of New Mexico's Board of Regents, alleging the university violated Title IX by failing to properly investigate what happened the night she claims she was drugged and raped, including by several football players.
Her lawsuit, filed Feb. 19 in federal court, says that administrators interfered with the police investigation and "UNM administrators demonstrated more concern with returning its football players to team play, protecting the athletic department, and protecting males, than with promptly and properly investigating Plaintiff's report."
The lawsuit says the woman was raped in April of last year after she believes she was slipped a "rape drug." She has no memory of what happened for nearly four hours, and witnesses told police she acted as if she had been drugged. According to the suit, two Lobos football players, Crusoe Gongbay and SaQwan Edwards, and a former New Mexico student, Ryan Ruff, brought the incapacitated woman to Ruff's BMW, saying they were taking her to a party. At some point inside the vehicle they started filming. Citing a defense lawyer for one of the accused men, the lawsuit says there might be up to 12 different videos (including of her having sex with unnamed people in a different location, something she doesn't remember), but the woman has only seen three clips.
The third video clip, taken inside of the BMW immediately prior to the rapes, clearly depicts the football player perpetrators. The players are chanting the words, "Slutty Boys" while text was overlaid by whomever took the video on his phone stating: "SLUTTYBOY GANGBANG COMIN SOON." The video suggests Plaintiff is being or soon will be forced to engage in sexual activity.
The lawsuit claims each of the men raped the woman inside the BMW and eventually dropped her off outside a dorm. The woman underwent a sexual assault exam but was not tested for drugs. The university did not consider opening a Title IX investigation until April 23, more than a week later, after the woman asked for one in writing, the suit says.
The lawsuit claims that coach Bob Davie heard about the alleged sexual assault but did not immediately notify the university's Title IX coordinator. Gongbay was interviewed by police after he had met with members of the athletic department and "had time to prepare for his interview," according to the suit. And although the athletic department knew something had happened inside the BMW, that information wasn't promptly given to the police. By the time the BMW was searched, several weeks later, the car "had been sanitized clean," the lawsuit says.
Upon information and belief, the Athletic Department improperly communicated with members of the OEO investigative team, including Bryan Brock, the Title IX Coordinator, regarding the outcome desired of the investigation, timing the specific release of detailed press reports of 'the boys being back on the team', with the District Attorney's decision to not prosecute.
Plaintiff alleges that this pre-determined result was reached in order to get the players back on the team as the season approached.
The woman lost her academic scholarship, switched to an out-of-state school, and is undergoing therapy related to posttraumatic stress disorder. Gongbay, Edwards, and Ruff were arrested and charged by police but the charges were dropped by the Bernalillo County District Attorney's Office, which cited in a statement "insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt before a jury or a judge."
The university released a statement saying it "takes sexual violence allegations very seriously" and went on to add: "The University's primary concern is the safety and well-being of its students, as well as ensuring that there are fair processes in place for all involved."
The full lawsuit is below.