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Northwestern Professor Accused Of Sexual Assault Claims Student Came On To Him

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A student has sued Northwestern University saying the school failed to discipline a professor she accused of sexually assaulting her. | Northwestern University Facebook

Northwestern University is facing public criticism and a federal lawsuit after a student claimed the school failed to take disciplinary action against a professor who allegedly got her drunk and sexually assaulted her.

Now a junior, the female student filed a federal lawsuit against Northwestern Feb. 10 accusing the school of mishandling her complaint against philosophy professor Peter Ludlow. As a result, the woman said she suffered panic attacks, emotional distress and even attempted suicide, the Sun-Times reports.

The student, who was underage at the time of the alleged February 2012 attack, says Ludlow drove her to an art show in Chicago and later "insisted she drink wine and beer" over the next several hours. He allegedly fondled her when she became intoxicated, despite her pleas for him to stop and take her back to campus, according to the Tribune.

Instead, the student alleges Ludlow took her to his apartment where she passed out and later woke up in his bed. The suit alleges a sexual attack, the Tribune reports.

The lawsuit, which names the school but not Ludlow, also states a committee found the student's allegations to be credible, but “Northwestern ignored its own committee’s decision and recommendation and continues to employ [him] as a professor,” the Sun-Times reports.

Ludlow, however, said it was the student who came on to him. A statement from his attorney to the school's paper, The Daily Northwestern, says in part:

“We have corroborating evidence that (the student) propositioned Mr. Ludlow. He refused her advances.”

Ludlow is also suing the parent companies of three Chicago media outlets who reported on the allegations -- the Sun-Times, Fox 32 News and WLS-AM 890 -- for defamation.

Northwestern, like many other universities, have been criticized for how it handles rape and other sexually violent crimes involving students.

Ludlow is reportedly scheduled to take a job at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. to serve as the director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports.

Rutgers has not commented on the matter beyond saying they are "looking into" the claims against Ludlow.

"This was not brought to our attention by either the candidate or his employer," Rutgers spokesman Greg Trevor told the Tribune. "We are looking into this matter thoroughly, including requesting all relevant information to fully evaluate his candidacy."

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