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Judge sanctions NKU, awards fees for issues related to Bothof’s deposition in Jane Doe case

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

At a hearing last Tuesday on the Jane Doe vs. Northern Kentucky, et.al lawsuit in his U.S. district court, Senior Judge William O. Bertlesman took “under advisement” a motion by attorney Kevin Murphy asking for sanctions against Northern Kentucky University’s counsel.

Jane Doe vs. Northern Kentucky University, et. al., involves a student who says she was raped in a campus dorm in 2013 and that the university’s own internal committee found she had very likely been assaulted by the male student identified. The suit involves her claim that the university did not protect her from further harassment by the perpetrator and did not follow their own procedures for doing so. Doe claims he was never admonished or sanctioned for breaking the rules related to future contact with her.

Judge William Bertlesman

Judge William Bertlesman

The suit claims administrators were “indifferent” and perhaps “hostile” to her numerous pleas for help.

Murphy’s complaint centered on his deposing of NKU Athletic Director Ken Bothof. The first offense was when Bothoff didn’t show up for this scheduled disposition. The second occurred when Murphy attempted to depose Bothof. In the disposition, Bothof’s counsel interrupted the questioning over a dozen times, pleading FERPA (Family and Education Records Privacy Act) to prevent Bothof from providing relevant information requested by Murphy.

Murphy argued that FERPA didn’t apply in any instance — “How can asking the name of a dorm somehow be a FERPA issue,” he said. He went on to tell the judge that he was unable to get to the issues he wanted because of the constant disruptions and that the FERPA invocations were just a diversion to keep Bothof from disclosing more details about another sexual abuse incident on campus involving three members of the NKU basketball team and another young woman in March, 2015.

Judge Bertlesman agreed that Murphy could depose Bothof a second time.

He also ordered the opposing attorneys to agree on the ground rules regarding FERPA and its application. That document was to be on his desk yesterday for approval.

He then took the sanctions request “under advisement.”

In a memorandum filed Monday, Bertlesman entered an order granting the sanctions — and told Doe’s attorney, Murphy, to submit a motion within 30 days for fees and costs, “accompanied by an appropriate affidavit and documentation” for the university to pay.

He also reiterated that the gag order and seal motions submitted by NKU were denied.

See links to the NKyTribune’s previous stories:

Bertlesman rejects NKU request for gag order, motion to seal.


NKU student files suit against NKU

NKU’s attorneys reply to Jane Doe suit

NKU files motion for gag order

NKU student alleges assault by four members of basketball team

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One Comment

  1. Clyde Spencekraig says:

    This whole story is getting a little old. I’m not defending Kenny Bothof in the least, but can’t we just move on? NKU and Jane Doe will settle this, she will get her money, and that will be the end of it. It’s almost basketball season, NKU does not need this overshadowing their season. Whatever did or did not happen with the basketball players was a long time ago. Let it go. And Bothof is spelled with one f, not two as you have in your story.

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