A California woman on Tuesday sued Chadron State College in U.S. District Court, saying school officials failed to prevent dating violence that led to her daughter’s suicide in 2015.
In the suit filed in federal court in Omaha, Lissette Larios Roohbakhsh said her daughter, Fatima Lissette Larios, was regularly beaten and emotionally abused by her then-boyfriend over a three-month period before her death. Fatima Larios played for Chadron's softball team.
In a 17-page complaint, Roohbakhsh said her daughter’s teammates told coaches that she had large bruises and underwent emotional changes, and resident advisers and others living in the same coed dorm as Larios reported hearing violent arguments she had with her boyfriend.
No arrests were made nor were charges filed in the case.
According to the suit, the coaches told Chadron State’s athletic director, who forwarded the information to the college’s human resources and Title IX coordinator responsible under federal law for launching an investigation into alleged sexual violence on campus.
The coach also observed “suspicious bruising … that included handprints” on Larios' arms and legs, the suit says.
Chadron State’s Title IX coordinator sent Larios a letter and email telling her about the college’s policy prohibiting sexual violence and harassment. Larios later met with coaches to discuss the situation, the suit says.
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Roohbakhsh’s complaint alleges the college failed in its responsibility “to respond to reports of sexual violence or sex harassment and attend to the needs of the students involved.” It also claims the college failed to interview students who reported seeing the bruises.
And, it claims the college failed to explain to Larios “that they suspected she was a victim of dating violence, that they received reports that (she) was experiencing dating violence; or that (she) had a right to speak to confidential sources, such as a mental health counselor or victim’s advocate.”
Roohbakhsh said her daughter continued to suffer physical and emotional abuse from the boyfriend that led to her suicide on Jan. 30, 2015. She was 19.
Roohbakhsh said Chadron State failed to disclose to the family “they had received reports from students and staff expressing concern” Larios was being abused by her boyfriend until October 2015.
Roohbakhsh asked the court to set a jury trial in the case. She is seeking undisclosed damages for her daughter’s “pre-death emotional distress, fear, anxiety and trauma; pre-death physical and mental pain and suffering; lost future earnings and earning capacity,” as well as hospital and other expenses.
Chadron State did not return a phone call seeking comment.