Notre Dame College Forced to Update Sexual Assault Procedures

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Tucked away in suburban South Euclid, Notre Dame College was the scene of a string of rapes and assaults that the school allegedly tried to pocket away from authorities a few years back. Scene chronicled their misadventures in the 2006 story “Hush.”

It seems that a former dean, Patricia O’Toole, withheld information from campus police during their investigations — a kind gesture to protect the privacy of students, according to her logic. O’Toole was later acquitted of charges, but she resigned from her post at the college. The campus police department, at odds with the administration over the investigations, was later disbanded.

Besides scaring away potential co-eds, the school’s à la carte approach to sexual-assault policy also caught the eye of the feds.

This month, Notre Dame was one of only two schools in the country ordered to sign a “voluntary resolution agreement” mandating new sexual-assault procedures and employee training.

“This is a great big step forward,” school spokesman Brian Johnston says.

The feds seem to agree: The U.S. Department of Education calls it a model for how colleges should handle such policies, particularly those colleges identified as being among the worst two offenders in America. — Kyle Swenson

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