Two months after a female softball player at St. Joseph’s University filed suit against the school and the team’s coach for alleged sexual hazing — followed shortly by a second lawsuit — the school announced that it has cleared the coach of any wrongdoing.
“An independent external investigator appointed by SJU in late spring has concluded there were no violations of the University’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation by members of the coaching staff in the ongoing women’s softball matter,” St. Joseph’s Athletics department said in a statement posted online Monday.
Softball coach Terri Adams was named as a defendant in the lawsuit filed by a freshman claiming she and other first-year Hawks were forced to simulate oral sex on wine bottles, that she was made todrink alcohol even though she was on medication and underage and even to simulate the coach having an orgasm.
The lawsuit accused the Jesuit school and Adams of allowing a culture of abusive sexual hazing on the team that eventually forced the 20-year-old plaintiff, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, to give up her scholarship and leave the school.
The plaintiff says she experienced most of these acts in the fall of 2013 during what was known as an “initiation week.”
The lawsuit claimed Adams “never put a stop to such misconduct and instead endorsed it by allowing it continue and actively engaged in such misconduct herself.”
The lawsuit also said the upperclassmen called Jane Doe and other underclassmen as “scum” or “low-level swine.”
6ABC previously reported in April that four students were suspended amid hazing allegations, and one suspended player reportedly wrote a letter in which she admitted, “Our team had a ‘welcome freshmen week,’ there is no denying that.”
A second lawsuit with similar claims was filed in June.