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Sexual Assault Lawsuit Filed Against Cerritos Community College, Dean, & Former Star Football Player Kishawn Holmes 

 

 

Lawsuit claims Holmes was a convicted rapist, which was known by the school, yet they failed to warn or safeguard students from his violent, sexual propensities.

 

LOS ANGELES – Greer & Rineer, a sexual abuse plaintiff law firm, filed a lawsuit against Cerritos Community College (Cerritos), the school’s Dean of Student Services Elizabeth Miller and a convicted rapist Kishawn Holmes on behalf of a now 21-year-old former Cerritos Student Athletic Trainer (Jane Doe), who was raped and sexually assaulted by Holmes.

Despite the school’s knowledge of Holmes’ prior conviction for rape, Cerritos accepted Holmes as a student, placed him in a position of prominence as the school’s star running back football player and didn’t inform any of the student athletic trainers of his conviction or implement safeguards to protect them from his violent, sexual propensities.

When Doe’s parents notified the school of Doe’s rape, it took 15 days to launch an investigation, and Cerritos allowed Holmes to continue as a student and be part of the football program where Doe would also be, giving Doe no choice but to withdraw from the Student Athletic Trainer Program.

It was not until November 20, 2017, after a Title IX investigation by Cerritos, that the school found Holmes responsible for the sexual assault of Doe.

“Despite Cerritos’ and Miller’s actual knowledge of Holmes’ conviction of rape and therefore, his propensity to commit sexual violence, they did absolutely nothing to safeguard the people within the Student Athletic Program that would be working closely with Holmes by performing athletic training modalities such as stretching, taping and massages,” said Doe’s counsel Kathryn Greer. “If Doe was aware that Holmes was a convicted rapist, she would have never agreed to be alone with him.”

“Cerritos chose to completely disregard the fact Holmes was a convicted rapist and instead focused on his abilities as a football player, placing all student athletic trainers working with Holmes in harm’s way. Further, when they finally were told about the sexual assault, they failed to initiate a timely and adequate investigation, furthering the harm to Doe and other students,” said Doe’s attorney, Allegra Rineer.

Background

Holmes was approximately 22 years old during the 2016-2017 school year and was a star running back at Cerritos.

While at Cerritos, he excelled as the top California Junior College running back and was selected to SCFA National Division Northern Conference 2nd Team, where he was an integral part of winning that conference.

Prior to his admittance, in September 2013, Holmes was arrested and charged with two counts of rape, two counts of lewd acts with a girl under 14 years old, three counts of false imprisonment, as well as one count of dissuading a victim from reporting a crime.

In April 2014, Holmes, then 17, pled guilty to rape and was sentenced to a year in custody and three years of probation.

Doe began attending Cerritos at the start of spring semester in 2016, and as part of her degree in Kinesiology, applied for and was accepted into the Student Athletic Training Program.

In August 2016, Doe became acquainted with Holmes and during the required hours of training performed physical therapy modalities on Holmes.

In September 2016, Holmes asked Doe if she would give him a back massage to help treat a back injury. Not knowing anything about his prior rape conviction, Doe agreed to give him a back massage and meet at his apartment to perform the treatment. It was during this encounter that Holmes sexually assaulted her.

Ashamed and fearful she would be kicked out of the student athletic training program, Doe did not immediately report the rape.  It wasn’t until after her friend discovered an online article on Holmes’ prior rape convictions.

In January 2017, Doe finally disclosed the assault to her partners, who immediately contacted the head Athletic Trainer, Maria Castro.

It took Cerritos 15 days to launch an investigation.

Several days after the investigation was launched, Doe learned that Cerritos was well aware of Holmes’ prior convictions and would allow him to continue as a student and stay on the football program, which would subject Doe to continued interaction with him.

Doe asked the school to accommodate her to prevent Holmes from contacting her on campus, and the school refused this request. Without any accommodations, Doe was forced to withdraw from her fulltime coursework and the Student Athletic Trainer Program.

On November 20, 2017, Cerritos completed their Title IX investigation and found Holmes responsible for sexual harassment, failure to obtain affirmative consent and sexual assault. On March 15, 2018, Holmes was found guilty of rape of Doe in the criminal proceeding.  Greer & Rineer are demanding a trial by jury.

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