Alleged Victim of Sex Assault at University of Kansas Who Sued School Reveals Her Identity in YouTube Video
"I didn't leave my dorm room," says Sarah McClure in an online testimonial
After finishing her freshman year, a woman who’d anonymously sued the University of Kansas in April for allegedly failing to properly address her sexual assault claims has come forward, disclosing her identity in a video posted to YouTube, PEOPLE confirms.
In the video, which was uploaded to the web on Thursday, Sarah McClure, who was attending the school on a rowing scholarship, says she’s the student who filed legal action against the Lawrence, Kansas, school two months ago.
“I was a freshman at KU and a coxswain on the rowing team,” she says in the video. “I was assaulted by the same football player who assaulted another rower on the team. I chose to stand up for myself and reported him to KU, then KU did nothing for months.”
McClure claims she felt unsafe walking around the school’s campus because her alleged attacker was not suspended. The attacker was ultimately expelled, but McClure says it took too long for the school to remove the student from campus and he should have been suspended during their investigation.
“I struggled every day…I couldn’t sleep,” McClure says in the clip. “I didn’t leave my dorm room. I stayed inside with a chair under my doorknob because I felt so unsafe.”
The student notes in the video that she wanted to remain anonymous while finishing out her freshman year.
“I chose to stick it out and finish off the semester; I am a strong believer of finishing what you started,” she explains.
McClure’s is the second lawsuit to be filed against the University of Kansas this year. Before she sued the school in April, another rower, Daisy Tackett, filed her own lawsuit following an alleged sexual assault that took place in the same dormitory, involving the same alleged assailant – a member of the university’s football team.
Neither suit names the alleged offender.
Both suits allege that, after reporting their assaults to school officials, University of Kansas’s rowing coaches prevented both students from participating in practices and competitions.
Both filings, which were obtained by PEOPLE, claim the school discriminated against the two women, subjecting them to a hostile educational environment and retaliation.
McClure’s suit was filed on April 19 in Douglas County District Court, and alleges the football player sexually assaulted her on Aug. 29, 2015 – less than a week into the fall semester of her freshman year.
The alleged attack occurred in her dorm room at Jayhawker Towers, where her assailant also resided, the suit claims.
The lawsuit alleges she’d met him earlier that month through a mutual friend. McClure’s suit contends she’d reported the assault to campus police little less than two months later, but her attacker was never detained and has not been criminally charged.
The school, McClure says, did not follow through on their promises to keep her “safe” and didn’t make it easy for her to access victim resources.
“They made my life a living nightmare,” she says in the clip. “Rowing was my safe place. It was my place to be me and was a place where I could shine. I had a lot of power and knowledge of what I was doing. After coming forward I felt ostracized.”
McClure’s suit argues the school failed to properly investigate her assault and later failed to protect her from subsequent intimidation by the football player and her rowing coaches.
According to her lawyer, Dan Curry, McClure will not be returning to University of Kansas for her sophomore year, and may take some time off before resuming her education.
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McClure came forward this week after returning home, where she feels safe once again, Curry tells PEOPLE.
“She was trying to finish out school and wanted to stay anonymous while there to protect herself,” Curry explains. “She will not go back to University of Kansas and is currently considering her next move. She’s looking to continue rowing somewhere else if she can.”
During a press conference Thursday afternoon, McClure’s father, Jim McClure, referenced recent media reports about the victimization of women by male athletes at major universities, including Stanford, where swimmer Brock Turner received a sentence many criticized as too light following his conviction for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman.
During Thursday’s press conference, Jim McClure, said the attack has forever changed his daughter, noting she’s gone from blithe to despondent. She has been seeing a counselor three times a week since the attack, he said.
While both suits seek monetary compensation, McClure said Thursday that if any money is awarded by a judge, that it would be donated to support sexual assault victims in Kansas.
Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a spokeswoman for the school, said in a statement to PEOPLE PEOPLE that “the University of Kansas takes very seriously any and all claims of sexual assault and sexual violence.”
The statement adds: “To protect the rights of all students involved, federal law prohibits the university from releasing details on individual sexual assault investigations. The university thoroughly investigated Ms. McClure’s allegations, and as a result, the accused student is no longer enrolled at KU. We are confident the courts will agree that we’ve met our obligations to both Ms. McClure and Ms. Tackett.”