University of California sued over sex assault claims

BERKELEY Calif. (KGO) -- Three University of California Berkeley students have filed a civil lawsuit against the University of California Regents and Cal. That lawsuit says the UC system fails to properly investigate sexual assaults.

The three students say UC Berkeley and UC Regents failed to properly respond to their complaints and fully punish the perpetrators.

"I was sexually assaulted during the Summer of 2012 by a faculty member of a summer program that has significant ties to UC Berkeley," said Aryle Butler, a sexual assault survivor.

Their stories have been reported to the campus authorities and heard all over the world through a documentary "The Hunting Ground."

"I am frustrated, I am angry, I am sad and I'm disappointed that I need to be here to do what I believe is the right thing, again," said Sofie Karasek, another sexual assault survivor.

In a statement Monday, a spokesperson said, "At UC Berkeley we are committed to creating a campus community where sexual assault is not tolerated."

In recent months each campus has hired an advocate to help survivors. A Website was also launched to shed light on the issue.

Still, Nicoletta Commins says that's not enough. She was assaulted and while her assailant was charged and suspended, he will now be allowed to return to finish his degree.

"If they really had a zero tolerance policy for sexual assault, none of our assailants would be allowed to return to school," Commins said.

"When institutions end up having to pay money, that seems to be what captures their attention the most," said attorney Irwin Zalkin.

Their attorney hopes a public trial will bring much needed transparency.
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