Ex-Montana State Student Sues School Over Sex Assault

October 22, 2013
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A former Montana State University student has filed a lawsuit against the school alleging she and other women were sexually assaulted and harassed by a former music professor.

The woman’s Oct. 11 lawsuit alleges the university negligently hired, retained and supervised Shuichi Komiyama, Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported. He was required to register as a sex offender because he pleaded guilty in California to having sex with a 14-year-old girl when he was 25.

She alleges MSU showed deliberate indifference in hiring Komiyama without inquiring about any criminal past and that school officials knew or should have known about his relationship with students and failed to stop it. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

“Komiyama’s conduct continued unabated although the misdeeds were well known to faculty,” wrote the woman’s attorney, Geoffrey Angel of Bozeman.

The woman alleges Komiyama invited several female students to drink alcohol and share his hotel room during a school-sanctioned conference in Missoula during the 2010-11 school year. The lawsuit alleges he invited students to his house and served them alcohol and that in late October 2010 he raped her at her residence.

The woman complained to the school in the spring of 2011 and an internal investigation found Komiyama provided alcohol to underage students and had sexual relationships with students, holding power over them by threatening to withdraw scholarships or instruction time.

The MSU investigation also found an allegation that Komiyama made inappropriate advances to a high school student. The student’s name and school were redacted from the report.

MSU notified Komiyama on Sept. 1, 2011, that it was seeking to fire him as a tenured professor for “unethical exploitation of students and violation of the university’s sexual harassment policies.” He resigned in September 2011 after denying the allegations. Court records do not say where he lives now.

The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.

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