UMBC agrees to $4.14M settlement in abuse case involving former swim coach

The University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC) has agreed to pay up to $4.14 million to student-athletes who were subjected to sexual abuse and discrimination by a former swim coach “for years,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.

The settlement agreement was met after the DOJ found that Chad Cradock, the former head coach for the swimming and diving teams at UMBC, sexually harassed male student-athletes and discriminated against female student-athletes, and the school didn’t do enough to investigate it.

In 2020, the DOJ opened its initial investigation into allegations that the university failed to comply with its obligations under Title IX – to respond to students’ reports of sexual assault. The DOJ found that the head coach may have used a camera to film students while they showered in a UMBC locker room.

“Rather than investigate this report or take action to protect students, UMBC administrators warned the coach that campus police planned to search his locker, thwarting the criminal investigation,” the DOJ said.

In 2019, a student reported “unwanted sexual touching and harassment” from the coach and “again, UMBC failed to investigate or otherwise respond.” During the same time, the university did not address female students’ reports of discrimination, including dating violence.

“As a result of these glaring failures by the university, student-athletes were subjected to ongoing sexual abuse, harassment and other sex discrimination by their coach for years,” the DOJ said.

The university has agreed to pay up to $4.14 million in financial relief to students subject to the abuse. The school has also agreed to “significantly improve” its process for responding to sex discrimination complaints, provide resources and staffing for its Title IX program and support for sexual assault, among other policies.

The DOJ said it will monitor the implementation of the programs, which will remain in place through the 2028-2029 school year. The DOJ may also provide feedback on UMBC’s policies, visit campus for meetings with students and employees and request documents, the agreement said.

UMBC cooperated “fully” with the DOJ’s investigation and has “expressed its commitment to protecting the health and safety of its campus community.”

The Hill has reached out to UMBC for comment about the settlement.

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