A former student is suing the University of Evansville, alleging she was sexually assaulted by former men's basketball coach Walter McCarty and that the school failed to provide a safe environment.
The Title IX lawsuit was filed Monday. In it, the former student, identified as Jane Doe and described as a former athletic trainer at Evansville, alleges McCarty sent her inappropriate messages on social media and via text. She said that led to him pressuring her to visit his home, where he allegedly assaulted her on Dec. 9, 2019.
According to the suit, the woman three days later sought counseling from a campus counselor and filed an anonymous report online with the university through Crime Stoppers. The woman said she had troubles academically and socially after the alleged assault, and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The lawsuit also claims that the university received multiple other reports of alleged inappropriate behavior by McCarty after he was hired in March 2018. The university fired him on Jan. 21, 2020, amid a university investigation over allegations of sexual misconduct.
"The female students and employees who experienced this pattern of harassment and sexual misconduct are real people, real women who simply wanted a safe environment to learn and work in, and our university failed us," the woman said in a news release.
"I am heartbroken that my school knew about Coach McCarty's misconduct before what happened to me, and looked the other way. I will continue to go through this difficult process of holding the university accountable, because I want to prevent other women from going through the same thing I did."
The suit seeks an unspecified amount, including "actual damages, compensatory damages, court costs, attorneys' fees, and pre- and post-judgment interest."
In a statement to ESPN on Monday night, McCarty denied the woman's allegations.
"I've never assaulted anyone in my 47 years on this earth. It's disheartening that someone would make up such a vicious lie to gain financial rewards," he wrote. "I'm excited and look forward to clearing my name and exposing these untruths. I am certain my name and reputation with be restored when it's our time to do so and present the truth."
Evansville also responded to the lawsuit, disputing the woman's claims and saying it believes it responded to them sufficiently.
"The University is confident it responded appropriately to all reports of misconduct regarding Mr. McCarty based on information it actually knew at the time; the University is similarly confident it responded reasonably to Jane Doe's report," it said in a statement obtained by ESPN. "UE looks forward to addressing the specific allegations in court, not in the media.
"In all that UE does, the safety and security of our students comes first. The University is wholly committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for all. Our Title IX policies are designed to protect the entire campus community.
McCarty was hired by the Aces after spending six seasons as an assistant coach in the NBA for the Boston Celtics and Indiana Pacers, and he spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Louisville under Rick Pitino.
McCarty won a national championship as a member of Pitino's 1996 Kentucky team before being drafted in the first round by the New York Knicks. McCarty played most of his 10-year NBA career with the Boston Celtics.
During his Evansville tenure, McCarty led Evansville to a victory at Kentucky, one of the biggest upsets in recent college basketball history.