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Judge’s order in Doe vs. NKU: Court tells university to turn over all documents about sexual assaults

Judge William Bertlesman, who has already sanctioned NKU’s legal counsel, has now ordered the university to turn over all documents and education records relating to “any allegations of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, rape, and/or unwanted advances” that occurred “on campus and in offsite living quarters in the last seven years.”

This latest ruling in the Jane Doe vs. Northern Kentucky University, et.al. lawsuit being heard in U.S. District Court in Covington makes clear that the university’s invocation of FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) is not “applicable to the information requested, including during a deposition.”

Jane Doe’s attorney, Kevin Murphy, argued during a hearing on October 18 that he had requested documents from the university that had not been provided regarding other sexual assaults on campus. NKU’s attorney, Katherine Coleman, argued that the records in question were protected by FERPA and the university could not produce them unless ordered to do so.

Bertlesman delivered the court order in very clear and direct terms, following an earlier ruling sanctioning NKU lawyers and awarding Doe’s attorney legal fees related to a deposition of NKU Athletic Director Ken Bothof. Bothof’s NKU attorney advised him at least a dozen times not to answer questions on FERPA grounds.

Murphy responded that he was not asking for names of students or for any private information that would be covered by FERPA.

Judge William Bertlesman

Judge William Bertlesman

Bertlesman also said Murphy could re-depose Bothof. His order clearly sets the rules for future depositions: “No party shall instruct a witness not to answer a question in any deposition on the basis of FERPA.”

Specifically, the university is to turn over:

“a. All documents relating to an incident occurring on or about February, 2015 involving members of the men’s basketball team;

“b. All documents relating to an incident occurring on or about March, 2016 involving members of the men’s basketball team;

“c.All documents constituting a transcript from any hearing relating to an incident of sexual misconduct and any disciplinary action taken as a result of that hearing, whether based on the Code of Student Conduct or any student athlete code of conduct, written or unwritten.

“d.All documents relating to any such allegation for which: (1) an administrative hearing was not conducted; or (2) an administrative panel found that it was more likely than not that the former or current student was not guilty of the charges.”

Click here to read the full Order

Jane Doe vs. Northern Kentucky University, et. al., involves a student — a freshman at the time — who says she was raped in a campus dorm in 2013 and that the university’s own internal committee found she had very likely been assaulted by the male student identified. The suit involves her claim that the university did not protect her from further harassment by the perpetrator and did not follow their own procedures for doing so. Doe claims her attacker was never admonished or sanctioned for breaking the rules related to future contact with her.

See links to the NKyTribune’s previous stories:

Judge sanctions NKU, awards fees

Bertlesman rejects NKU request for gag order, motion to seal.


NKU student files suit against NKU

NKU’s attorneys reply to Jane Doe suit

NKU files motion for gag order

NKU student alleges assault by four members of basketball team

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  1. Clyde Spencekraig says:

    This is becoming a witch hunt that needs to stop. What does the incident with the basketball players have to do with the Jane Doe case? If something really happened with the three basketball players, where is the victim? Did she did not come forward because she actually instigated the incident? Why did she not press charges? Why no lawsuit from her? I am not trying to defend Kenny Bothof. I’ve said on several previous comments he needs to be removed as the athletic director for covering up the incident. But why keep bringing up this basketball incident from 2015 when it has no bearing on the Jane Doe case?

    • Judy Clabes says:

      This is from a court document. Obviously a distinguished federal judge does not agree with you.

      • Clyde Spencekraig says:

        Why no mention of the players in question, if that is the case? Have they been questioned by the lawyers on both sides or given the chance to tell their side of the story? If Kenny Bothof covered this up, he had help and the blessing to do it. Has the court ordered Jeff Waple to testify on this matter? He was the Dean of Students and mysteriously left for another job right after this alleged incident? What about Arnie Slaughter, who was the housing director for the dorms? These people would be more useful to hear from than Kenny Bothof if this really happened. Leave NKU basketball out of this, it’s almost basketball season, they do not need this hanging over them.

        • Ty Adams says:

          The three players in question were Todd Johnson, Tyler White, Jordan Jackson. Don’t know if they have been questioned by the authorities, but none of them should have ever suited up for the game after it happened. That’s all on Bothof and his superiors for allowing it. It’s on John Brannen for allowing Johnson and White to play last season with no suspension. Brannen should be held accountable for that. We all know Bothof had to tell Brannen about the incident, why no suspension by him?

          • Paul Webster says:

            Spot on with your views, Ty Adams. The three players walked free because the NKU administrators never alerted law enforcement about the sexual incident. How Brannen played White and Johnson last season is impossible to fathom, maybe Bothof told him to or someone might figure to out.

  2. Robert Doucher says:

    Clyde makes some interesting points re: the questioning of other current and former NKU administrators. In time, it seems likely that Jane Doe’s attorney will do just that.

    It is horrible to watch NKU’s reputation be tarnished as this case unfolds; it is a fundamentally important regional institution, but, what the young women in question allegedly endured is far more horrific. They all deserve justice. And if NKU is hurt in the short term, such collateral damage is both necessary and justified. Alea iacta est… the die is cast.

    It is therefore necessary for Jane Doe’s attorney to shed light into every corner of NKU’s administration. Already, to my untrained eye, sickening patterns are emerging. My stomach turns when I think about what might be revealed in the documents that NKU has now been rightfully forced to disclose. How many more Jane Does might there be?

    As a concerned citizen of the Commonwealth, I am grateful to Jane Doe for showing such incredible strength in the face of relentless odds (you are in my prayers). I am grateful to Jane Doe’s attorney for his tenacity. The NKY Tribune too deserves to be thanked for sharing the facts, as permitted by the federal court, with us. I am also grateful to the Cincinnati press for doing the same. And above all, I am grateful for the freedoms that we enjoy, among which, freedom of the press is essential.

    • Clyde Spencekraig says:

      Robert Doucher brings up justice for Jane Doe, but all I see is an ambulance-chasing lawyer (Murphy) trying to get money. He has no desire to see justice, just dollar signs. If Jane Doe and her legal people were intent on getting justice, they would file criminal charges against the fraternity guy who supposedly raped her. They would also alert the public who the rapist is and therefore potentially stop other rapes, by just going after money and that is all Murphy is out for, it makes me doubt the truthfulness in whole of Jane Doe’s story.

      And it still does not answer why they keep bringing up the three basketball players and their incident in 2015, it’s not related and a different girl. Kenny Bothof admitted to covering it up and not going to law enforcement in his testimony, he should be removed as NKU’s athletic director. But who else helped cover it up? Waple? Slaughter? Mearns? Sidebottom? Meier? Gitau? This is what I want to know. Leave the basketball players out of this.

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