Point University fumbled sexual harassment investigation, lawsuit says


Point University mishandled a graduate student’s sexual harassment and sexual assault claim filed against an assistant coach, according to a lawsuit recently filed against the West Georgia school.

In the complaint, the graduate student said some officials at the Christian university were more concerned with whether she had engaged in premarital sexual activities and why she had allowed Black men to spend the night in her apartment the night she said the sexual assault took place. She also said Point did not interview key witnesses and didn’t allow her to review her statement about the alleged assault, which her attorneys say contained several facts taken out of context.

The lawsuit was filed last week in federal court in Newnan. An attorney representing the university declined comment.

The woman’s attorneys, Rachel Berlin Benjamin and Ashley Wilson Clark, said the university’s handling of her claim hurt their client emotionally and professionally. The woman was a student at a nearby university and accepted a two-year educational opportunity in July 2019 at Point as a graduate assistant athletic trainer for its men’s football, cheerleading and women’s lacrosse teams.

“Our client’s career was derailed by Point’s investigation,” said Benjamin. “For a young college student who was on that path, she was harmed significantly.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not publish the names of alleged sexual assault survivors.

In the lawsuit, the student claims a Point trainer joked when she told him an assistant coach was making repeated unwanted sexual advances.

She visited a few bars with the coach and others on Sept. 26, 2019, she said, and had some of them stay at her apartment that night because she was worried they weren’t sober enough to drive home. She said the coach sexually assaulted her that night and she filed a complaint with police and the university against the coach the following morning.

The university completed its investigation a month later and determined it could not substantiate her allegations, and the coach would not face disciplinary action, according to the lawsuit. The investigator said she would “make the same decision” if the student appealed, the lawsuit said.

The coach was arrested by Auburn, Alabama police in July 2020 on a first-degree sexual abuse charge. The charge, though, was dismissed a few months ago, court records show and the clerk of court’s office said Tuesday.

“There was no evidence or any facts behind it,” the coach’s attorney, Zachary Alsobrook, said of the claim.

The AJC is not publishing the coach’s name since the criminal charge was dismissed.

The woman is seeking unspecified monetary damages from the university. After leaving Point, she completed her graduate studies training at a nearby school.