Mike Riley, Oregon State face Title IX lawsuit alleging sexually violent culture

ByMitch Sherman ESPN logo
Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Nebraskafootball coach Mike Riley and his former school, Oregon State, face a federal Title IX lawsuit filed by a woman who said she was raped as a result of the coach's failure to correct a sexually violent culture in the program, according to a report by The Oregonian.

The woman said she was raped by a player's cousin in October 1999 as a freshman at Oregon State.

Riley coached the San Diego Chargers in 1999 but led the program at Oregon State in 1997 and 1998 and from 2003 to 2014. He was hired at Nebraska in November and is set to coach his first game at the school Saturday.

Dennis Erickson was the Oregon State coach at the time of the alleged incident, but his name was not included in the lawsuit, which was filed Monday in Eugene, Oregon.

Riley said in a statement released by Nebraska that he was he was made aware of the complaint Tuesday and previously did not know of the incident. He declined, in the statement, to comment specifically on the matter.

"However, I am committed to a harassment-free culture in our football program," Riley said, "and I am continually seeking ways to expand our student education program. Sexual assault is a horrendous crime and has no place in our society."

The woman, seeking $7.5 million in damages, said she was raped after drinking at an off-campus party. She said she was taken to another apartment, unable to fight off her attackers as she faded out of consciousness, according to the lawsuit.

The woman reported being raped to a sexual assault counselor at the university, but was dissuaded from contacting police, the lawsuit says. The sexual assault counselor said "a rape kit was worse than the assault itself," and "these things are hard to prove," the lawsuit states.

The counselor also allegedly told the woman she shouldn't have been drinking. The lawsuit says that the woman believes the beer she was given contained a drug

Oregon State refuted the assertions the woman has made, according to The Oregonian.

"We're not responsible for her very unfortunate sexual assault," Oregon State Vice President of University Relations Steve Clark told the newspaper.

The woman came forward after an Oregonian report last year on Brenda Tracy. Tracy said she was sexually assaulted in 1998 by four men, including Calvin Carlyle and Jason Dandridge, who played football for Riley at Oregon State. Tracy was raped in the same apartment as the woman in the latest case, according to the lawsuit.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.