Campus News

Cephus sues university for mishandling Title IX investigation

Cephus argues that the simultaneous criminal and Title IX investigations into sexual assault charges made against him violated his rights.

Image By: Jon Brockman

Quintez Cephus, the Badgers wide receiver who was suspended from the team following two counts of sexual assault, announced he is bringing federal charges against UW-Madison for violating his constitutional rights to a fair investigation.

Charges of second- and third-degree sexual assault were levied against Cephus in August, following both a criminal investigation brought forward by the state as well as a Title IX investigation conducted by the university.

The lawsuit stated the Title IX investigative report was launched in late August, despite Cephus’ inability to participate in an interview or otherwise meaningfully participate in UW-Madison’s process, since he was already facing criminal charges.

“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.”

For Cephus, those sanctions could include permanent suspension from the football team, expulsion from the university and a criminal record.

The matter, according to the lawsuit, “highlights the widespread issue of colleges and universities, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, investigating and adjudicating allegations against its students prior to the conclusion of any parallel criminal case.”

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that UW-Madison officials haven't reviewed the lawsuit yet.

“We are confident that our processes related to these types of investigations comply with federal law,” UW-Madison spokesperson Meredith McGlone said.

The lawsuit named the UW Board of Regents, a UW-Madison Title IX coordinator, the director of the Office of Compliance at UW-Madison and UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank among the defendants and demanded that UW-Madison pause its investigation until the criminal case against Cephus is resolved.

Cephus’ charges date back to April, when he allegedly sexually assaulted two intoxicated women in his apartment.

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