As first reported by the Wisconsin State Journal, Cephus has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging the school has violated his civil rights during its Title IX investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted two women last April.
A wide receiver on the football team, Cephus is charged in Dane County Court with two counts of sexual assault, including a second-degree charge that could land him in prison for up to 25 years. He is due in court on Thursday morning for his arraignment on those charges.
The lawsuit alleges that Cephus hasn’t been able to take part in the Title IX investigation as its findings could impact his standing in the criminal investigation.
From the Wisconsin State Journal’s report:
“Defendants have knowingly and intentionally forced (Cephus) into the predicament of having to either waive his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination by choosing to participate in the university process despite the potential harm to his criminal defense,” the lawsuit states, “or decline to participate in the university’s process thus leading to the inevitable finding of responsibility and severe sanctions.”
Among the sanctions is expulsion from school.
The lawsuit is calling for, among other items, a stop to the investigation until the criminal case is completed, an unspecified amount of money for emotional and psychological damage, as well as the financial damage done to his prospects of playing professional football.
Cephus took a leave of absence from the team on Aug. 18 and was charged two days later. He was immediately suspended from the team, though Wisconsin’s athletic discipline policy allows him to remain on the roster and still receive academic and health support as if he was with the team.