Rape victim files second complaint against Georgetown, DOE clarifies victim disclosure rights

WASHINGTON — A Georgetown University sophomore, who saysshe was drugged and raped her freshman year, has filed a second complaint withthe Department of Education over the university’s handling of hercase.Kate Dieringer said that her rights under the federal Clery Actwere violated when Georgetown required her to sign a confidentiality agreementbefore she was told what action the school took against her assailant. Theagreement prohibited her from disclosing the results of the judicial hearing,even to her family, and allowed Georgetown to punish her if she spoke aboutthem.The Clery Act, however, requires that schools provide thatinformation unconditionally to the victims.Recently, the Department ofEducation reaffirmed a victim’s right to share the final results of adisciplinary action when the school has found the accused student guilty. In aletter sent to Security on Campus, Inc., the DOE stated that when “aninstitution determines that an accused student is an alleged perpetrator and hasviolated the institution rules, then there are no restrictions on disclosure orredisclosure of the final results of a disciplinary proceeding.”Collegesand universities that require confidentiality agreements from victims often doso because they consider the results to be federally protected educationrecords. Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a school can loseits federal funding if it has a “policy or practice of permitting the release of[students’] education records … without the written consent” of the studentsinvolved. Dieringer filed the original complaint in December 2002alleging that Georgetown violated her civil rights under the Title IX genderequity when school officials allowed her assailant to remain on campus. Thatcomplaint is currently under review.