Kent State University has been ordered to pay $32,624.98 in attorney’s fees to a Cleveland firm that represented a former softball player who alleges she was raped in 2012.
The attorneys’ fees come from a lawsuit filed by The Chandra Law Firm in the Supreme Court of Ohio suing Kent State University for public records Lauren Kesterson said the university failed to produce after the incident.
Although the Record-Courier generally does not name alleged sexual assault victims, Keterson has consented to her name being made public.
Kent State spokesman Eric Mansfield declined to comment Tuesday on the case.
Kesterson told her former Kent State softball coach that she had been raped by the coach's son, who played baseball at the university.
The suit says Kesterson reported the rape in mid-May 2014 to the coach and the coach asked her not to tell anyone else about the alleged rape.
The coach did not report the incident, though she was a “mandated reporter” under Kent State policy, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in February 2016 alleging Kent State and the softball coach violated Title IX law, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.
Kesterson filed a complaint in August 2015 with Erin Barton, the deputy coordinator for Title IX in the university’s Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Department. University officials told Kesterson they would do a “surprise interview” with the coach. Two days after this interview, the coach resigned, according to the lawsuit. Kesterson never filed criminal charges.
Kent State University was dismissed from the federal lawsuit in a November 2018 decision, as was current Kent State softball coach Eric Oakley. The remainder of the case is still pending in federal court.
Ashlie Case Sletvold, one of the attorneys representing Kesterson, said she believed the university had produced all the records requested as part of the federal case.
“So we believe we have received all the records, but without the opportunity to go in and search the files we can’t be certain,” Sletvold said.
Contact reporter Eileen McClory at 330-298-1128, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Eileen_McClory.