By Matt Case 02/17/16
Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning is under fire in light of a sexual harassment lawsuit involving the quarterback’s alma mater, the University of Tennessee.
Six unnamed women filed the federal suit on Feb. 9 in Knoxville. The lawsuit states that the University has violated Title IX regulations, has policies that make students more susceptible to sexual assault, and favor male athletes in disciplinary action.
The lawsuit names complaints involving 10 student-athletes at Tennessee, including former players A.J. Johnson and Michael Williams, who were indicted on aggravated rape charges a year ago and will face trial this summer, and five-time NFL MVP Manning.
Dating back to 1996, the lawsuit alleges that Manning, the Volunteers’ quarterback, placed his naked genitals on the face on athletic trainer Dr. Jamie Naughright while she was examining him for an injury. Naughright sued Manning, who denied the event and claimed he was mooning teammate Malcolm Saxon during the examination. Saxon discredited this claim.
Naughright’s suit was eventually settled in 1997, which led to an agreement that she leave the institution. Manning was never involved in a police investigation of the incident.
Representing the University of Tennessee, lawyer Bill Ramsey said in a statement, “In the situations identified in the lawsuit, the University acted lawfully and-and in good faith, and we expect a court to agree. Any assertion that we do not take sexual assault seriously is simply not true. To claim that we have allowed a culture to exist contrary to our institutional commitment to providing a safe environment for our students or that we do not support those who report sexual assaults is just false.”
Last June, The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right began an investigation into sexual violence at UT, but no further details have been announced publicly.
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