A former student athletic trainer from the University of Evansville has filed a lawsuit against the Indiana institution, alleging sexual assault and a pattern of sexual harassment by a former basketball head coach.
The lawsuit alleges that Walter McCarty, the former coach, and a former NBA player, pressured an unnamed plaintiff into visiting him in his home in December 2019, where he allegedly assaulted her. According to the victim, the University of Evansville knew of McCarty’s pattern of sexually harassing and assaulting women at the university but failed to take action.
According to Michelle Simpson Tuegel, the plaintiff’s attorney, “It was no secret to university officials that McCarty was a predator, and they sat on their hands and did nothing. It is a perfect combination and a perfect storm of vulnerability. It’s about Walter McCarty and his abuse, yes. It’s also about the failed institutional response and how they could have prevented this.”
McCarty was hired as head coach of the UE basketball team in March 2018. According to the lawsuit, reports were made of inappropriate behavior shortly after being hired, including uncomfortable attention paid to a student and persistent, harassing text and social media messages. The university was allegedly told about the behaviors seven times.
The unnamed victim felt pressured to go to McCarty’s home after receiving multiple text messages. She was allegedly sexually assaulted at his home and informed her roommate what had transpired immediately after the incident. Three days later, she spoke to a counselor and filed an anonymous report online with the university. Police, however, have no record of any reports regarding McCarty’s behavior during his coaching tenure.
Two weeks after the alleged incident, McCarty was placed on administrative leave by the school while an outside firm conducted an investigation. In January 2020, McCarty was fired.
The plaintiff, who is being referred to as Jane Doe, remains unnamed due to the sensitive nature of the allegations. The lawsuit claims that the harassment and the university’s actions violate Title IX protections for students against gender discrimination and violence. As a result of the assault, the plaintiff suffered PTSD and saw a decline in her academic performance.
The University of Evansville is disputing the accusations: “The University if confident it responded appropriately to all reports of misconduct regarding Mr. McCarty based on information it actually knew at the time. UE looks forward to addressing the specific allegation in court, not in the media.”
McCarty spoke with CNN and had this to say about the accusations: “I’ve never assaulted anyone in my 47 years on this earth. I am certain my name and reputation will be restored when it’s our time to do so and present the truth. I fully support the #metoo movement and the women who have survived sexual violence. It’s disheartening that someone would make up such a vicious lie to gain financial rewards.”