Former Law Student Sues Over Sexual Harassment at University of Iowa

By William Vogeler, Esq. on April 28, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

This is not a typical "he said, she said" case.

In a multi-faceted sexual harassment claim, this story has more cross-overs than a bar exam fact-pattern. First, Matthew Bailey sued the University of Iowa to keep the law school from suspending him. Then he sued a fellow student who allegedly harassed him. Now he is suing the law school for failing to investigate his harassment claim.

Oh, and then there's the disorderly conduct matter against Bailey. Wait, maybe this is a typical college case.

Failure to Investigate

Bailey has sued the university in federal district court, alleging officials failed to investigate his report of sexual harassment. Jeneane Beck, a university spokesperson, denied the claim and said the university will "vigorously defend this case."

Beck said the university first responded to Bailey's claims in 2015, but he would not identify his alleged attacker. He finally identified the man in January 2017, she said, and the school further investigated the claims. In his lawsuit, Bailey claims that he gave the attacker's name to a college psychologist earlier.

"Mr. Bailey confided in family and friends, and a therapist when the assault first occurred in 2015, after the male perpetrator attacked Mr. Bailey in an apartment off of the University of Iowa campus," according to the complaint. "But like so many survivors who have suffered this kind of sexual abuse, Mr. Bailey felt conflicted and confused for months about the incident."

The incident occurred off-campus, while Bailey's suit focuses on the university's failure to investigate under Title IX. The federal law requires schools to investigate sexual assaults. According to reports, the government is reviewing complaints against 124 colleges and universities for mishandling such claims.

Substance Abuse, Disordely Conduct

Bailey had problems at the law school before filing the Title IX action. In October 2016, he sued to enjoin the university from suspending him and later dropped the complaint.

The university had threatened to suspend him after he yelled at a dean and called her a "bitch." He was given a deadline to complete a substance abuse evaluation and counseling, but he was ultimately suspended and banned from campus.

In the meantime, Bailey sued the alleged perpetrator for sexual assault. The defendant filed a cross-complaint for defamation, and the court set a trial setting conference for May.

In an unrelated case, there is a warrant out for Bailey's arrest for failure to appear on disorderly conduct charges. According to court records, he missed a probation revocation hearing.

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