Our Lawsuits Against Butler University: Seeking Justice and Reform for Sexually Abused Student-Athletes

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This week, we filed federal lawsuits for three brave women’s soccer players who allege sexual assault by the university’s former athletic trainer, Michael Howell. These lawsuits shed light on a disturbing culture of abuse and misconduct within the university’s athletic program. Our lawsuit not only seeks justice and compensation for the victims but also aims to bring about necessary reforms to ensure the safety of future student-athletes.

In addition to suing Howell, Jane Does 1, 2, and 3 have named Butler University and Ralph Reiff, the senior associate athletic director, as co-defendants in the lawsuits. The complaints assert that the university and Reiff failed to implement proper conduct policies for athletic trainers and neglected their duty to supervise Howell effectively. The lawsuits further claim that the university did not have appropriate safety protocols in place to protect the athletes and failed to respond adequately when the misconduct was reported.

Rachel Denhollander, a prominent advocate and attorney for survivors of sexual abuse,  joins The Fierberg National Law Group in our fight for justice and institutional reform. Denhollander was the first woman to publicly accuse Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State physician, of sexual abuse. The similarities between the two cases highlight the need for universities and institutions to acknowledge the failures that enable abuse and take meaningful actions toward reform.

Our lawsuits against Butler University not only seek justice for our clients but also aim to drive systemic changes within collegiate athletic programs. Jane Does hope that their legal action will compel the university to implement robust safety protocols, establish appropriate conduct policies for athletic trainers, and proactively reach out to former student-athletes to investigate potential past abuses. By demanding accountability and reform, our clients aim to ensure that no other student-athlete falls victim to abuse within the university’s athletic program.




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