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Second former Norfolk State football player claims he was sexually assaulted, hazed by teammates; files Title IX lawsuit

Norfolk State football
Posted at 7:47 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 19:47:10-04

Disclaimer: This story includes explicit descriptions of sexual assault and attempted rape and may be disturbing to some.

NORFOLK, Va. - Another former Norfolk State University football player is saying he was hazed and sexually assaulted by other members of the team.

The former player, identified only as "John Doe," filed a Title IX lawsuit against the school on Wednesday. He is demanding a jury trial.

The lawsuit alleges after being recruited to play for the team in June 2021, John Doe was befriended by other members of the team, including an upperclassman who let Doe use his car and invited him to meals and parties with other players. The lawsuit says the hazing began with "crotch grabbing and voyeurism" and led to an attempted rape.

According to the lawsuit, NSU's football coaches knew that the hazing was going on and ignored it, which perpetuated rape culture within the team. It claims that one coach said, "They were teammates," and, "They were doing it to each other."

The lawsuit goes on to allege that other members of the football team retaliated against Doe when the university finally acted on his claims.

This newest lawsuit comes after another former NSU football player, Shawn Fahey, went public in early May with claims of sexual assault and hazing problems he says he encountered while a part of NSU's Division I football team this past fall.

Doe is also represented by attorney Diane Toscano, who is representing Fahey.

News 3 reached out to NSU for a comment on this latest allegation. A university spokesperson said they stand by the statement they released last month in reference to Fahey's case and said, "It would be inappropriate to comment regarding any pending litigation."

Below is the statement NSU issued in May once Fahey went public with his allegations:

Norfolk State University cares about the safety and wellbeing of every student, faculty, and staff member. We have a “culture of care” at the institution, and we work diligently to address the needs of our community.

NSU is aware of allegations regarding the conduct of the NSU football program and immediately launched an investigation when the matter was reported. Subsequently, NSU also acquired the services of an external consulting firm, Rebecca Leitman Veidlinger, Esq., PLLC. This firm specializes in investigating and adjudicating allegations of violations of Title IX including harassment, sexual misconduct, and assault.

The firm is currently investigating the allegations. The University is prohibited by federal law from disclosing any information about any investigations involving students. We acknowledge that this can make it difficult for members of the public wanting to know more information.

We encourage anyone with any information regarding sexual misconduct, harassment, or any form of discrimination to please contact the Office of Institutional Equity at 757-278-4121.
Norfolk State University

Related: Psychotherapist weighs in on stigma surrounding male victims of sexual assault after former Norfolk State football player's accusations