Plaintiffs respond to request by UMBC police chief to dismiss claim against him in sex-assault lawsuit

Five women alleging a broad conspiracy by Baltimore County authorities and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County to suppress reports of rape and sexual assault are asking the U.S. District Court to reject a motion by the campus police chief.

In a court filing Friday, lawyers for the plaintiffs say Paul Dillon was part of a group of officials who “created the illusion that the assaults did not occur and ensured that they received minimal attention.” And so, Dillon’s attempt to have a claim against him in the class-action lawsuit dismissed should be denied, lawyers Rignal W. Baldwin V and Stephen C. Rigg wrote in the 16-page document.

Dillon was deputy chief of police at UMBC when the lawsuit claims he persuaded a student not to report her alleged rape to police. The claim is one of many in the sweeping civil lawsuit that alleges the women were assaulted by UMBC students in separate incidents between 2014 and 2017.

Early this month, Dillon filed a motion to dismiss an allegation against him, an action that was supported by Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh. In a memorandum of support, Frosh said Dillon never tried to discourage the woman from reporting the alleged assault to police. The attorney general included a sworn statement by Dillon that said he tried to explain the differences between a campus investigation and one conducted by county police. An accompanying affidavit from a UMBC employee said Dillon did not try to influence the student’s decision.

But in an amendment complaint Wednesday, the plaintiffs made additional allegations against Dillon and the other defendants. Three women joined the suit as part of that amended complaint.

A UMBC spokeswoman said Saturday that the attorney general's office is evaluating the amended complaint and options for follow-on motions.

The lawsuit alleges sexual assaults by five women, all of whom were intoxicated at the time of the incidents. One plaintiff, a former UMBC student, says she was raped by four of the school’s basketball players on campus in 2014. A second plaintiff, also a former UMBC student, said she when she was sexually assaulted in 2017 by three UMBC baseball players at her home. The third plaintiff is a former University of Maryland at Baltimore student who said she was sexually assaulted by a UMBC graduate student who worked in her UMBC lab in 2016.

The original two plaintiffs are a Towson University student who said she was sexually assaulted by UMBC baseball players last year and a former UMBC student who said she was raped in 2015 by another student on campus.

The Baltimore Sun is withholding the names of the women; the newspaper does not name sexual assault victims.

According to the latest filing, Dillon’s motion to dismiss the original allegation against him is no longer valid, because the plaintiffs have added more accusations against him and the other defendants with more detail and more plaintiffs. The filing also says Dillon’s request for summary judgement is inappropriate because the case has not entered discovery.

The plaintiffs claim that Dillon participated in “patterns of malfeasance through intentional misclassification of sexual assaults.” The lawsuit says that Dillon and the other defendants are under pressure to lower reports of crime to make UMBC look more appealing to prospective students and their parents.

In addition to Dillon, defendants in the case include UMBC and its president, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott D. Shellenberger, the Baltimore County Police Department and the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland.

ywenger@baltsun.com

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