Suspended University of Wisconsin wide receiver Quintez Cephus filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the university for allegedly violating his constitutional rights by administering a disciplinary investigation Cephus was unable to participate in due to his ongoing criminal investigation.
In August, Cephus was charged with second degree sexual assault of an intoxicated victim and third degree sexual assault.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Cephus filed a case in U.S. District Court for an unspecified amount of money for emotional and psychological harm, damage to his reputation and past and future economic losses, among other damages.
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Additionally, the lawsuit seeks an order stopping “UW from violating Cephus’ due process rights while investigating sexual misconduct conduct complaints against him, an injunction barring UW from violating Cephus’ equal protection rights and an injunction barring racial discrimination against Cephus during its investigation,” according to WSJ.
UW began the Title IX investigation based on the alleged sexual assault.
But the lawsuit calls for UW to suspend its disciplinary proceedings against Cephus until his criminal case is resolved.
Due to Cephus’ current criminal case, the lawsuit claims he is unable to “meaningfully participate in the university’s process.”
“Defendants have knowingly and intentionally forced (Cephus) into the predicament of having to either waive his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by choosing to participate in the university process despite the potential harm to his criminal defense,” the lawsuit states, “or decline to participate in the university’s process thus leading to the inevitable finding of responsibility and severe sanctions.”
According to UW spokesperson Meredith McGlone, the university has not yet been able to review the lawsuit.
“We are confident that our processes related to these types of investigations comply with federal law,” McGlone said.
Additionally, McGlone said it is a standard practice for UW, and other universities, to conduct student misconduct allegations outside of the criminal justice system for not only sexual misconduct, but all types.
In accordance with the 2001 Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance, a criminal investigation does not excuse universities from their obligation to conduct their own investigations, McGlone said. These policies are still in affect.
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The UW Board of Regents, Title IX coordinator Lauren Hasselbacher, director of the Office of Compliance at UW Cathy Trueba and Chancellor Rebecca Blank were all named in the lawsuit.
In Cephus’ criminal case, he is bound over for trial. His arraignment will take place Thursday.
Oct. 10, 8:14 p.m.: This article has been updated to include further information from UW Communications.