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Student sues Pacific for $3 million, alleging rape after coach's party

A 20-year-old student is suing Pacific University for negligence, alleging she was raped after attending a drinking party hosted in 2013 by Dustin Bowser, a former star basketball player and coach at the Forest Grove school.

In an email sent Wednesday to faculty and students, university President Lesley Hallick called for a town hall meeting to discuss the issue. It will take place Monday, Nov. 23, at a time and location to be determined.

“The university does not support or authorize any of its employees or coaches to host parties in which alcohol is provided to minors, as was alleged in the lawsuit,” Hallick's email read. “The safety of all university students is our priority.”

The suit, which asks for $3 million in damages and requests a jury trial, was filed Monday, Nov. 16, in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The plaintiff, identified only as “F.L.,” is being represented by Gregory Kafoury, Mark McDougal and Jason Kafoury of Kafoury & McDougal law firm in Portland.

At the time of the alleged incident, Nov. 17, 2013, the plaintiff was an 18-year-old freshman at Pacific. Along with other underage female students, F.L. went to Bowser's home that night, where “young women were allowed or encouraged to consume alcohol to the point where they were essentially incapacitated,” the suit says.

Police raided the party around 11:30 p.m. and “K.M.,” a football player at Pacific, left the premises with an intoxicated F.L. to avoid contact with officers, according to the lawsuit. Shortly after escorting F.L. from the party, the suit says, K.M. “sexually battered, abused and raped” her.

The plaintiff suffered “extensive bruising to her breasts and thighs” and “may permanently suffer from fear, humiliation, anxiety, frequent and severe panic attacks and extreme and disabling emotional distress,” the suit reads.

It says that as Bowser's employer, Pacific was negligent in failing to prevent him from hosting "a drinking party at his home … for student athletes, including football players, and many female students, including the plaintiff” who were under the legal age to consume alcohol.

Bowser “knew or had reason to know” such conditions were “likely to lead to the sexual abuse” of the young women, the suit continues, and charges that Pacific failed to prevent the gathering that resulted “in the abuse of [the] plaintiff.”

It further alleges the university failed to “provide disincentives, policies, practices, investigations or sanctions to reduce the threat of forcible sexual violations of intoxicated or incapacitated female students by male students, including athletes.”

The lawsuit and its implications were “a huge buzz” on campus this week, said Janae Sargent, a Pacific senior and co-editor in chief of The Pacific Index, the school newspaper.

“A lot of people are trying to figure out who the people are,” Sargent said of the lawsuit's “K.M." and “F.L.” She added that a number of students were planning to attend Monday's town hall meeting.

Students and faculty members are split between thinking the university was not responsible for what occurred at the party and believing it was negligent, she added.

“Some people are really outraged at the university and others are defending it,” Sargent said. "Everyone's pretty horrified about what happened."