A Marietta woman filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging Ohio University and The Ohio University Police Department were “indifferent” to the abuse she faced as a middle and high school student in Athens County.

The woman seeks compensation damages of over $10 million per claim. There are six claims for relief.

The perpetrator, Robert A. Parsons, was employed by OUPD as an officer at the time of the allegations. The complainant argues that Parsons initiated an illegal and abusive sexual relationship with this woman as well as at least two other minors. The abuse began when the woman was 15, the case reads. 

The lawsuit states that Parsons raped her during his work hours and at work-related locations including his university-issued police cruiser.

The lawsuit also states that Parsons sent nude photographs of himself to the woman and had her send nude photographs back. Parsons engaged in these communications during OU work hours with his work computer.

Ohio University officials allegedly knew of an initial report of Parsons’ misconduct on or before November 14, 2005; however, Parsons attended a career day at the woman’s school where he continued to inappropriately interact with her.

“Defendant Parsons was an unfit agent because of his sexual and romantic interest in children,” the lawsuit reads.

Other claims made within the case include the fact that OU and OUPD might have failed to exercise “ordinary and reasonable care” with Parsons.

One specific incident of alleged sexual assault happened during the 2005-2006 school year. Parsons met the woman near Buffalo Wild Wings and then told her what to say to investigators who would question her about the incidents. After Parsons told her that, he raped her.

“Ohio University does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind and abuse of a minor is especially egregious,” OU said in a prepared statement. “When Mr. Parsons was an Ohio University employee over a decade ago, we promptly placed him on administrative leave upon learning of the allegations against him.

OUPD then conducted an internal investigation which resulted in his termination. Mr. Parsons was also charged criminally.

Parsons was convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor or corruption in Athens County Court on January 5, 2007. He appealed this to the Ohio Supreme Court. The court found that “competent, credible evidence supports the trial court’s finding,” according to the lawsuit. 

“We hope that OU acknowledges the seriousness of what occurred and the severe impact it had on (her) life,” Michael Fradin, the attorney that filed the lawsuit said. “We hope they recognize there is no place here for the scorched Earth approach OU has taken against other victims.”

@ianmck9

im581017@ohio.edu

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