Lawsuits: UA showed "deliberate indifference" to abuse
The University of Arizona is now facing two federal Title IX lawsuits alleging that the administration acted with “deliberate indifference” toward reports of abuse by former Arizona running back Orlando Bradford.
Bradford, who was sentenced to five years in prison in November, pleaded guilty to two counts of federal aggravated assault against ex-girlfriends.
Two of the three ex-girlfriends have filed lawsuits against the university, claiming it “unreasonably and repeatedly failed to act within [its] power to prevent Bradford from serially attacking female U of A Students.”
The lawsuit alleges school officials were aware of Bradford’s dating violence as early as December 2015, when the mother of a female student athlete reported to the athletic department that her daughter was attacked by Bradford.
In March 2016, the same student reported to the Dean of Students and athletic department that she was concerned about retaliation if she attempted to end her relationship with Bradford, especially since their athletic affiliation caused them to be near each other often.
After allegedly being reassured that the university would protect the student from any retaliation, “Mr. Bradford showed up at [the student's] dorm room, pounding on her door, shouting her name and trying to get to her.” The student's parents then called the police.
On April 10, 2016, the University of Arizona Police Department opened an investigation, and the student detailed the abuse she endured in the months prior. She was granted an order of protection, and Bradford was banned from the on-campus dorms.
“Apart from the verbal warning and the limit on his access to the dorms, however, the University took no further action to discipline Mr. Bradford for the violent assaults or to protect other University students from his physical abuse,” the lawsuit said.
At the beginning of Spring 2016, a second female student, who filed the most recent complaint against the UA in late January, began to date Bradford.
On April 11, 2016, just one day after the first student reported her abuse and an investigation was opened by UAPD, neighbors allegedly contacted the police after “Bradford attacked [the second female student] while at her apartment, grabbing her, dragging her across the floor screaming and choking her until [the student] managed to escape him.”
On May 5, 2016, the student's mother contacted the Dean of Student's Office after she noticed scratches and bruises on her daughter’s body.
The student was allegedly assaulted many other times throughout the semester, and despite Bradford's history of dating violence, “the UAPD failed to contact her, even after she was specifically identified as a second victim by witnesses.”
The lawsuit also states that, outside of formal reports of assault to campus officials, the abuse was “openly discussed in the football locker room and other areas, with no effort to conceal the discussions from U of A athletic staff or coaches.”
By Fall 2016, Bradford began to date a third female student, who Bradford was allegedly violent with “by restraining her, beating and choking her, dragging her by her hair and threatening to kill her" on Sept. 12 and 13, 2016. The injuries from the abuse were documented by Tucson Police Department on Sept. 14, 2016, and Bradford was arrested on multiple felony counts.
“When the U of A learned of Mr. Bradford’s arrest, they dismissed him from the football team but falsely announced that this was Mr. Bradford’s ‘first’ act of domestic violence,” the lawsuit said. “At the time, University officials were well aware that Mr. Bradford had previously been reported to and investigated by the UAPD for serious claims of dating violence many months earlier.”
On Sept. 15, 2016, following Bradford’s arrest, the second female student also reported her abuse to the TPD. Reportedly, it wasn’t until late September 2017 that the student was contacted by a Title IX Investigator.
The Daily Wildcat attempted to contact the Office of Institutional Equity, but they have chosen not to comment.
The second female student initially filed a claim with the Arizona Board of Regents in February 2017, offering to settle for $1 million. After failing to reach a settlement, the student and her attorneys filed the most recent lawsuit in late January.
Both students are requesting relief in the form of compensatory damages, emotional and physical pain and suffering and reimbursement for deprivation of equal access to the educational benefits and opportunities.
“U of A acted with deliberate indifference to these reports when it failed to conduct a Title IX investigation into reports of Mr. Bradford’s pattern of dating violence, to take remedial measures to prevent further abuse and to offer protections to potential targets, including Plaintiff, of Mr. Bradford’s violence,” the lawsuit said. “This failure to take any action, despite the University’s authority to do so, was clearly unreasonable in light of known circumstances.”
Fall 2015 — Bradford enrolled at the UA and agreed to become a member of the football team.
December 2015 — Mother of student A reported to UA athletic department that Bradford physically attacked her daughter.
January 2016 — Student A continues relationship with Bradford.
January 2016 — Bradford begins dating student B, while also dating student A.
Jan. 14, 2016 — Student B is allegedly pushed against a wall, choked for 15–20 seconds and thrown onto a bed.
March 2016 — Student A reports concerns to Dean of Students and athletic department regarding her difficulty to avoid contact with Bradford and concern over retaliation if she tried to break up the relationship.
April 10, 2016 — Student A files police report with UAPD, with a member of the athletics department present. Alternative housing was arranged for Bradford off campus.
April 11, 2016 — Bradford attacks Student B in her apartment. Bradford allegedly dragged her across the floor and choked her until she was able to escape; neighbors called TPD.
Up until August 2016 — Student B was repeatedly assaulted by Bradford. He allegedly strangled her, threw her to the ground, kicked her in the ribs and grabbed her by the hair. The abuse was allegedly witnessed by UA football players and bragged about in locker rooms.
May 5, 2016 — Student B’s mother contacted Dean of Students Office after she noticed bruises and scratches on her daughter’s body.
May 22, 2016 — Bradford allegedly pushed student B against a wall and choked her. When she tried to escape, he grabbed and scratched her, causing bruising and lacerations to her ribs.
Fall 2016 — Bradford begins dating student C and is the starting running back for the football team.
Sept. 12 and 13, 2016 — Student C was allegedly restrained, brutalized and humiliated by Bradford.
Sept. 14, 2016 — Tucson police documented student C’s injuries, and Bradford was arrested on multiple felony counts.
Sept. 15, 2016 — Student B reports repeated assaults to Tucson Police Department.
Sept. 29, 2017 — Bradford pleads guilty to two counts of aggravated assault-domestic violence.
Oct. 2017 — Student C files federal Title IX lawsuit against University of Arizona.
Nov. 20, 2017 — Bradford sentenced to five years in prison for two counts of aggravated assault.
Jan. 2017 — Student B files federal Title IX lawsuit against University of Arizona.
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