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Ex-student sues university for unfair dismissal ‘after she refused threesome with supervisor’ 

A former student at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania is suing the school in federal court after they allegedly refused to act on her complaints that a supervisor repeatedly tried to pressure her into a threesome. 

The student claims she unjustly lost her job and position on a graduate program after refusing the female assistant dean’s advances in a months-long campaign to involve her in group sex acts. 

According to the complaint filed by the ex-student on Tuesday in the U.S. Middle District Court, her supervisor sent her racy texts, showed nude photos of herself as a dominatrix, and even attempted to gain access to the student’s hotel room overnight during a work trip. 

The supervisor allegedly threatened to fire the student as she had previous employees ‘if she did not respect … her boss’, which the younger woman claims was an attempt to ‘intimidate her to not reject her advances’.  

The student claims she tried to make a complaint to the Dean about the harassment on several occasions but was consistently dismissed. She claims the Dean said they ‘didn’t want to hear it’ as the assistant dean was a friend.  

Neither the former student, who lives in the Shippensburg area, or the supervisor -who worked in the university’s Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education – are identified in the complaint. 

The university is named as the defendant.  

The supervisor has reportedly since left her job with the university after a formal sexual harassment complaint was filed but the student was never reinstated to her former position. 

As a result, she filed the sexual harassment complaint to federal court this week seeking unspecified financial damages.

She claims the university showed ‘a blatant disregard for her civil rights’ in their handling of the complaint.   

The student first started on a graduate program in Shippensburg University in the Fall 2018 semester having being accepted to the Clinical Mental Health Master’s program. 

It also offered her the position as a graduate assistant with hourly pay and benefits. 

According to the court documents, the ‘excellent’ student was quickly promoted to Director of Testing. 

Throughout this time she was under the direct supervision of the woman named in the complaint as Dr. Jane Roe, an Assistant Dean of Defendant’s Office of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education (OPCDE). 

The student claimed that the sexual harassment began in January 2019 when the supervisor propositioned her ‘to participate in a ménage à trois with her and a man’. 

The student turned this down and approached the Dean of OPCDE to make a complaint. The court document states that the Dean said they did not wish to hear it. 

Over the next four months, the student claims her supervisor would make sexual advance between two to four times a week. 

She claims she repeatedly propositioned her with a threesome as well as ‘showing Plaintiff photographs and text messages of a sexual nature and flaunting details about her sex-life’. 

In April 2019, the two women went on a work trip to Philadelphia where the student claims she was forced to look at images on her supervisor’s phone. 

In the images, the assistant dean was ‘nude and engaging in activities as a dominatrix with various men’. 

The student said she did not need to see the images and when they returned from the trip, the supervisor allegedly warned that she could be fired.  

The assistant dean allegedly claimed she had also fired the previous Director of Testing. 

The student said she ‘understood this threat to mean that Dr. Roe was trying to intimidate her to not reject her advances’. She attempted to approach the Dean again with a complaint was was dismissed for a second time ‘because Dr. Roe was her friend’.

The frequency of the sexual harassment decreased over the summer months outside of the academic year but the supervisor allegedly continued to make ‘pervasive sexual advances’ and ‘inappropriate comments of a sexual nature whenever the two were together’. 

In August 2019, the women went on a second work trip to New Orleans where the supervisor is claimed to have requested a key to the student’s room ‘in case I want to visit in the middle of the night’. 

The student refused and also refused to go on a date with her supervisor and a third person. 

She told the supervisor ‘she had a boyfriend and did not do that kind of thing’. 

Upset at her refusals, the supervisor confronted the student in front of other conference attendees, the complaint states. 

The supervisor allegedly began ‘yelling and cursing to Plaintiff that she would not have a job when she returned to Shippensburg’. 

When the student returned to the university on August 14, she found that the supervisor had told others she was no longer employed there and she approached the Dean to make a complaint for the third time but was again rejected. 

On August 20, the student was called to meet with the Vice President of Human Resources at the university after they received complaints that she had behaved unprofessionally during the New Orleans trip. 

She immediately argued that it was the supervisor’s actions that had been unprofessional and detailed her sexual harassment complaints. 

When asked why she had not reported this sooner, the student stated that she had tried, which the Dean, who was also present, did not deny. 

The student was encouraged to file a formal sexual harassment complaint which she did on August 22, providing text messages as proof of the abuse. 

The supervisor was placed on leave and then later resigned from the university. 

According to the court documents the student was told that the university would consider reinstating her employment in late 2019 but that has not yet happened.  

She is now suing the university for ‘lost pay, lost tuition benefits and other benefits’ as well as ’emotional pain and suffering’. 

The complaint states that the university management ‘acted with intentionally and with malice and with blatant disregard for Plaintiff’s civil rights in terminating Plaintiff, refusing to reinstate her employment, taking away her tuition benefits and engaging in other discriminatory and retaliatory acts’.    

It adds that the supervisor ‘had significant, if not controlling, input on Plaintiff’s success as a graduate assistant and/or Director of Testing’ and ‘provided false charges’ to remove the student from her position. 

The student claims the university agents ‘acted as a cat’s paw and rubber stamp for Dr. Roe’s decision to remove Plaintiff from her education-related employment’.  

Shippenburg University said in a statement to 12 News that they are aware of the complaint but do not comment on pending litigation. 

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