Title IX, DV, Down and Dirty

marie De Santis (rdvjustice@hotmail.com)
Tue, 21 Jul 1998 14:27:55 PDT

Here is one example of how down and dirty sexist the whole system is
from top to bottom. It is the story of how one University systematically
protects rapists and violent males on campus and damns the women staff
and students. Sadly, every indication is that this is how it works at
all schools.

On July 8, 1998, Sonoma State University police officer Georgiann Dorian
filed a sex descrimination law suit against the University. In addition
to two years of sex harassment on the job, Dorian also claims that her
supervisor, Sgt. Andrew Luttringer, ordered her to falsify a domestic
violence report made by a female student against her student boyfriend.
Luttringer ordered Dorian to write the report so the women would appear
to be at fault. But that doesn't even begin to tell the story.

What's even more disgusting is that five years ago, 6 female SSU
students unknown to each other had reported through various University
channels that they had been sexually assaulted by a male student, the
same male student. At every juncture of complaint, the female students
complaints were suppressed and their reputations were trashed by
officials of the school. The women that had reported their rapes to the
campus police obtained a copy of the police reports and found that the
police reports had been falsified to protect the rapist and make it look
like the sex was consensual. Those reports were written and falsified by
none other than Sgt. Andrew Luttringer.

But the story just begins there. Two of the women filed a complaint with
the Fed. Office for Civil Rights claiming that the University's handling
of their rapes violated their rights every step of the way.

The one atypical part of this story is that their case happened to land
on the desk of an excellent OCR investigator who's final report was
scathing. The OCR found that indeed Sgt. Luttringer had falsified the
rape reports in a way that protected the rapist, that SSU's affirmative
action officer Barbara Lesch-McCaffrey did every thing possible to crush
these student's sexual assault complaints; misinformed them of their
rights, sent them down blind alleys and perhaps worst of all, started a
rumor on campus that the women were just jealous ex-girlfriends of the
rapist--a complete lie.

The OCR also found that every official approached by the students for
help did much the same thing, act to crush the women's complaints of
rape, and also that school officials were doing the same thing for all
the sexual assault and sex harassment complaints that came their way-
school officials dumped the complaints in the garbage and the women and
their education be damned. It is highly significant that three of the
six women had dropped out of the University before the OCR complaint was
even filed because of being so severely trashed on campus for daring to
report the rapes in the first place.

BUT even that's just the tip of the iceberg. We may never have even
gotten this report if it hadn't been for women in the community putting
big pressure on Norma Cantu, head of the OCR. Before the OCR report was
released, we found out that the University and the OCR were negotiating
over what would be in the report. As if TRUTH FINDING, the purpose of
the investigation, is something that can be negotiated with the

Dirty, dirty, dirty, business. So virulently stacked against female
students, they don't stand a chance in hell unless their is a
knowledgeable, militant, organized team of feminists at their side.

Finally after much pressure from the women of the commuunity and female
students the OCR report was released. Who knows how much was deleted
from the original report.

AND THERE'S MORE: Attached to the OCR report was a three year compliance
plan, a top flight set of changes that SSU had to make to assure proper
handling of sex descrimination complaints on campus. Did the University
comply? Did OCR make the University comply?

Obviously not. I am an advocate working at the local rape crisis center.
In the intervening years, female student rape victims from the campus
are still coming to us telling us that they are being pressured not to
file formal complaints by none other than Barbara Lesch-McCaffrey who is
still head of campus affirmative action.

When Officer Georgiann Dorian made a formal complaint to McCaffrey
about the sex harassment she was getting from her colleagues at campus
police, McCaffrey told Dorian to get counseling.

And, of course, Sgt. Andrew Luttringer was still out there falsifying
criminal reports of violence against women students.

AND THERE'S MORE: When the OCR report was released, the campus officials
minimized and obscured the findings any way they could, so we wrote a
leaflet summarizing the findings and distributing the leaflet on campus.
In response, Barbara Lesch-McCaffrey got 17 women faculty and staff to
sign a letter blasting me to my Board of Directors.

And when Tanya, a grassroots women's rights activist, tried to pass out
more leaflets, McCaffrey went to campus police in an attempt to have her
forcefully removed from campus.

CONCLUSION: Girl's and Women's rights to equal education do not stand a
snowball's chance in hell unless people are willing to fight and
confront aggressively, organize militantly, not be snowed by the
bullshit, not be backed down by the intense and powerful retaliation,
and to keep on fighting aggressively until the job is done and the dirty
sexist power structure is turned upside down.

Anthing less is to be complicitous with the ongoing rape, domestic
violence, and denial of equal educational rights for girl's and women.

REMEMBER: In this case we had the great fortune, by chance, of drawing a
highly competent OCR investigator. Having seen many OCR investigations,
this is not always the case. Imagine the added obstruction for female
students who do not get such a good investigator.


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