Daisy Tackett Ryan Christopher Jones Special to The Star
Daisy Tackett Ryan Christopher Jones Special to The Star

University of Kansas

KU pays $395,000 to settle sexual assault and harassment lawsuits

By Mará Rose Williams


December 08, 2017 05:24 PM

The University of Kansas paid out a total of $395,000 to settle lawsuits by two former KU rowers who claimed they were sexually assaulted by a former football player in campus housing.

With no admission of liability, the university agreed to pay former rower Daisy Tackett $245,000 and former rower Sarah McClure $150,000.

The settlement allots $102,000 of Tackett’s amount and $63,000 of McClure’s to the Brown and Curry Law Firm of Kansas City. The firm represented both women.

The Tackett lawsuit was filed in Douglas County in March 2016. The McClure lawsuit was filed in April 2016. Both accused the university of violating Title IX, the federal law that protects against gender discrimination, including sexual assault and harassment.

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The suits were both dismissed last month at the request of the women and the university. Under the terms of the dismissal, the claims made by the two women cannot be raised in court again.

The Star obtained the amounts of the settlements from a request under the Kansas Open Records Act.

The settlement agreements say that they represent “a compromise of disputed claims,” and that the money paid “shall not be construed as an admission of liability or wrongdoing” on behalf of the university or the two women.

University official said only that the case had been resolved.

The attorney for the women, Dan Curry, would only say that the matter had been resolved and that his clients would not have a comment.

The two-year legal battle began with a claim by Tackett in her lawsuit that she was raped in the fall of 2014, shortly after she arrived on the Lawrence campus. She was then an 18-year-old freshman living in Naismith Hall.

Tackett said she was raped by the football player in his dorm room in KU’s Jayhawker Towers after the two left a party earlier that evening.

McClure’s lawsuit said that in August 2015, less than a week into the fall semester of her freshman year, the same football player fondled her breasts in her apartment at Jayhawker Towers, where he also lived.

McClure reported the incident to police. Tackett did not. No criminal charges were filed in either case. Later, separately, the women reported the incidents to university officials.

Both lawsuits alleged that KU had been “deliberately indifferent” to the sexual harassment of a student by another student. They also contend that after the women reported the alleged attacks, they were not protected from retaliation by the accused student.

In February, a federal judge ruled against a third claim in the Tackett suit — that KU allowed a hostile environment at Jayhawker Towers.

A Title IX investigation into the women’s claims by KU’s office of Institutional Opportunity and Access was concluded in February 2016 and found that Tackett more likely than not had been assaulted by the football player, as she described.

In McClure’s case, the office found that the football player had violated the school’s sexual harassment policy.

The KU office, in its Title IX investigations, uses a preponderance of evidence standard; legal cases use an evidence standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

After the investigation the football player, Jordan Goldenberg Jr., was expelled.

The Star’s Lynn Horsley contributed.

Mará Rose Williams: 816-234-4419, @marawilliamskc

Two years ago, Daisy Tackett was a rower at the University of Kansas. Then she says she was raped, starting a painful journey through a system she says failed her — and irreparably changed her. It has taken her out of KU and away from the sport sh