The University of Maine at Farmington said it was “acting immediately and with all appropriate resources” to support former students who said they were assaulted or harassed by a male student, who the school cleared in 2018 of raping a current student.
“Any allegation of sexual abuse or violence on our campus must be taken seriously no matter when it occurs, and that is especially important when the claims all involve conduct and actions by a single individual, as appears to be the case here,” interim president Eric Brown said in a university-wide email sent Tuesday afternoon.
After the Bangor Daily News reported in January on the school’s handling of two rape cases, which ultimately allowed the alleged perpetrators to remain on campus after overturning rulings that had found the men responsible for sexual assault, multiple students said they had also been taken advantage of by one of the male students in question.
Four former students said the man physically took advantage of them at various dates between 2013 and 2018. A fifth woman described how he continued to ask her for sex after she said no. A sixth woman said she witnessed him harass her friend.
After the BDN interviewed one woman, she decided to report her experience to the school on Friday. The school suspended the male student on an interim basis until it can complete an administrative investigation, according to a school record obtained by the BDN.
“The ongoing investigation and student privacy concerns prevent me from providing details, but we are taking meaningful and immediate steps to ensure safety for everyone involved, including the campus as a whole,” Brown said.
“Over the last month our community has been engaged in a difficult but critically important conversation about sexual harassment, abuse, and violence. We are working to improve process, understanding, and transparency; provide more responsive support for reporting parties; and ensure we have the resources and protocols in place to provide equitable treatment to all participants in Title IX investigations,” Brown said.
Title IX is the federal gender anti-discrimination law that sets out how schools should respond to reports of sexual assault.
Maine Focus is a journalism and community engagement initiative at the Bangor Daily News. Questions? Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.