Plaintiffs no-shows, claims dismissed

Updated: June 18, 2004, 3:01 PM ET
Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A judge dismissed the portion of a lawsuit filed against Notre Dame and four former football players by the parents of a woman who accused the men of raping her more than two years ago.

The 22-year-old woman and her parents filed the lawsuit in St. Joseph County Superior Court in April seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the university and from former students Justin Smith, Abram Elam, Donald Dykes and Lorenzo Crawford. The portion of the lawsuit filed by the woman wasn't dismissed.

The woman's parents, listed as Mr. and Mrs. Doe, claimed emotional distress, pain and suffering and other injuries from what their daughter went through.

Attorney Fred Hains, who represents Dykes, filed for the dismissal of the parents' claims because they had not signed required court papers. Judge William Whitman dismissed the claims after the woman and her parents failed to show up for a hearing last week.

The woman's lawsuit blames the defendants' alleged actions for causing her to legally change her name. The lawsuit also seeks damages for post-traumatic stress, medical bills, lost income and other harm.

Notre Dame spokesman Matt Storin declined to comment Friday.

Criminal charges, including rape or conspiracy to commit rape, were filed against the four men after they were expelled by Notre Dame in May 2002. Only Elam was convicted -- of sexual battery, the least serious of three charges against him. He was placed on probation.

Dykes was acquitted after a jury trial last fall. The charges against Crawford and Smith were dismissed by a special prosecutor.

Two years ago, the woman accused the men of luring her into a bedroom after she met Smith at a bar and agreed to go with the men and another woman to Smith's home. She said the men repeatedly raped her.

The men, who were expelled from Notre Dame for what the university called sexual misconduct, said the sex was consensual.

All the ex-players except Elam have filed countersuits against the woman and Notre Dame, claiming damage to their reputations, emotional distress and economic harm.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press