The University of Arizona has been named in a second federal lawsuit alleging that the school showed “deliberate indifference” to charges that former football player Orlando Bradford repeatedly assaulted his girlfriend and other women, the Arizona Daily Star reports.
The lawsuit, filed by Bradford’s ex-girlfriend, reportedly says that Bradford violated Title IX requirements by failing to act on information about Bradford’s history of violence against women. The former running back was sentenced in November to five years in prison after pleading guilty to felony assault charges. Via the Arizona Daily Star:
The suit says that school officials were aware of Bradford’s penchant for violence against women for nearly a year before his arrest, and although the university took a few intermediary steps, such as banning him the dorms and moving him off campus, the school failed to take decisive action to protect its students.
“The UA had actual, repeated notice of Mr. Bradford’s dating violence and physical assaults of female university students that created a sexually hostile environment for women on its campus,” the lawsuit says, adding that the UA acted with “deliberate indifference” to that notice and subjected women to sexual violence and deprived them to equal access to educational opportunities.
This report in some ways echoes ESPN’s recent bombshell expose about Michigan State’s failure to respond appropriately when its athletes were accused of violence against women. Per the Arizona Daily Star, Bradford continued to play for the Wildcats even after multiple women had reported him to the university for various violent acts. He was kicked off the team only after being arrested in September 2016, when his girlfriend told police he beat and choked her over two days.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that Bradford’s abuse was somewhat of an open secret around the football program.
Around the same time, Bradford began dating and abusing another woman, bragging to his friends that he had “tortured” her.
Throughout the summer and fall of 2016, Bradford’s abuse of the new woman was discussed openly in the locker room and other team areas.
“No one from the UA sought to stop the abuse or take other remedial measures to assist any of Mr. Bradford’s victims,” the lawsuit says. “Instead, for the fall 2016 football season, the university announced that Mr. Bradford would be a starting running back for the UA football team.”
Rich Rodriguez, who served as Arizona’s football coach from 2012-17, was fired earlier this month after becoming the subject or two sexual harassment lawsuits, one of which also accused him of failing to act on knowledge of a player’s ultimately fatal painkiller use. The Wildcats’ athletic director at the time of the allegations against Bradford, Greg Byrne, is now athletic director at Alabama.