LOS ANGELES — A former student is suing a Southern California community college and the football player convicted of raping her, accusing the school of allowing the young man to attend school despite a previous sexual assault conviction.
The woman’s attorneys announced the lawsuit Monday against Cerritos College, the school’s dean of student services and the now-former player, 22-year-old Kishawn Holmes.
The lawsuit accuses Cerritos of accepting Holmes to the school and its football program even though he was convicted of rape in 2014 when he was 17.
“Despite having actual knowledge of Holmes’ conviction for rape, absolutely no safeguards were put into place to protect (the student),” according to the lawsuit, filed March 12 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
University spokeswoman Miya Walker said the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation.
“While the incident did not occur at the college, we take the well-being of our students very seriously and have policies and procedures on student conduct, and require sexual violence and harassment prevention trainings,” Walker said in a statement.
A jury found Holmes guilty Thursday of raping the student in 2016. He faces up to 18 years in prison.
The victim was an athletic trainer who performed physical therapy on Holmes while he was a starting running back on the football team.
Now 21, she said that Holmes told her he needed a massage for a back injury, and the two agreed to meet at his apartment for the treatment on Sept. 8, 2016, according to the lawsuit.
It was there that Holmes raped her, the lawsuit said.
Although the victim told a friend about the rape after it happened, she didn’t report it for another three months because she feared she would be removed from the school’s student athletic training program, the lawsuit said.
When she did tell her parents about the attack, they reported it to the school on Jan. 24, 2017, but Cerritos didn’t initiate an investigation until two weeks after that, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said that Cerritos allowed Holmes to remain on the football team while refusing a request by the victim to limit her access to him. She ended up withdrawing from the program.
It was not until November 2017 — 10 months after learning of the rape allegation — that the school finished its investigation and found Holmes responsible for sexual assault, according to the lawsuit.
If the trainer had been aware that Holmes was a convicted rapist, “she would have never agreed to be alone with him,” her attorney, Kathryn Greer, said in a statement.