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A law student from The Woodlands, Texas, filed a Title IX discrimination suit last month against South Texas College of Law in Houston and former professor Neil C. McCabe, alleging she was sexually harassed and sexually assaulted while a student at the school. But even before his former student had filed her suit, McCabe — represented by his wife — had sued Kimberley Fredericks in state court, alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress. For her part, Fredericks alleges the following in her complaint and jury demand filed on April 23 in federal court: McCabe “forced” her into a sexual relationship while she was his student and the school “failed to take any appropriate action” to protect her; and McCabe subjected her to “the most vile and dehumanizing sexual conduct imaginable” and at times physically restrained her, yet her complaints to unspecified officials at the school were ignored. McCabe, now of counsel at O’Quinn, Laminack & Pirtle in Houston, declines comment, referring questions to his lawyer, Joel Androphy, a partner in Berg & Androphy of Houston. Androphy says McCabe did have an affair with Fredericks, but the former professor denies any sexual abuse claims. John O’Quinn, a partner in O’Quinn Laminack, says the firm hired McCabe “to be a great legal mind and a great writer.” When asked if the litigation between McCabe and Fredericks would affect McCabe’s employment at the firm, O’Quinn says, “It hasn’t yet.” South Texas Dean James Alfini also disputes the allegations in Kimberley Fredericks v. South Texas College of Law, et al. “I’m confident the law school handled a very difficult situation in an appropriate, expeditious manner,” he says. Alfini says that following a four-month investigation into Fredericks’ complaints about McCabe, the school’s board of directors voted on April 29, 2003, to “de-tenure and dismiss” McCabe, who had taught at the school for 20 years and became well known in Houston for providing the media with legal commentary on constitutional law issues. Although Alfini refuses to specify which board finding led to McCabe’s dismissal, he says, “The school does have a policy that prohibits romantic relationships between faculty and their students and that policy was certainly a big part of the investigation and proceeding. I wouldn’t — I couldn’t — say that there weren’t other matters under consideration.” In her complaint and jury demand, Fredericks brings discrimination and sexual harassment claims against the school under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. � 1681. She alleges the school was “negligent in its retention and supervision of McCabe,” and the conduct of the school and McCabe constitutes intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, sexual assault, battery and false imprisonment. She seeks unspecified actual and punitive damages and attorney fees. Fredericks’ suit is pending in U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal’s court in the Southern District. DEFAMATION SUIT Meanwhile, McCabe seeks actual and punitive damages from Fredericks in the separate suit he filed in a Houston state court in January, alleging defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress causes of action against his former paramour. McCabe’s wife, Houston solo Kay Peterson, represents him in the state court defamation suit. (Androphy represented McCabe at his tenure hearing and says he will represent McCabe in the federal Title IX suit filed by Fredericks once McCabe is served with a copy of it.) McCabe alleges in the original petition in Neil C. McCabe v. Kimmy Fox Fredericks that he unwisely became involved in a romantic relationship with Fredericks, and despite his efforts to break it off, she “begged” him to stay in the relationship and used his fear that the affair would be disclosed to his employer and his wife “to extract money and favors” from him. McCabe further alleges he finally ended the relationship with Fredericks in December 2002, but his reputation has been damaged by the alleged defamation. “Plaintiffs’ teaching career, which was precious to him, is over and his reputation has been damaged severely by defendant’s defamatory statements,” Peterson writes in the original petition she filed for her husband. Like McCabe, Peterson declines comment, Androphy says. But Androphy says McCabe filed the state court defamation suit to prevent Fredericks from continuing to make statements that he considers defamatory. “They [McCabe and Peterson] found it disturbing that there was an … effort to tarnish his reputation, a continual effort, and they decided that it was in their best interest to put some closure to the whole matter,” Androphy alleges. “Neil broke off the relationship with her [Fredericks], and he wants to live a peaceful life with Kay,” Androphy says. Bert Steinmann, a partner in Steinmann & Harrison of The Woodlands who represents Fredericks in the defamation suit and the Title IX suit, did not return two telephone calls seeking comment before presstime on May 13, but in an original answer filed in March, Fredericks denies the allegations in the defamation suit. In the answer, Fredericks seeks a take-nothing judgment. In April, Fredericks filed two motions seeking sanctions against Peterson related to McCabe’s defamation suit. In the first motion, she alleges Peterson’s discovery requests to her have no purpose except harassment and violate Rule 13 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. As alleged in the motion, the discovery asks Fredericks to identify all persons who “abused” her, to “specify all her mental disorders” and to state whether she “ever received any money” in return for sex. In the other motion, Fredericks seeks sanctions, including striking the pleadings, under � 10.001 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, alleging the pleadings are frivolous and intended to harass her. Androphy says, “The McCabes want to handle the litigation at a dignified level, and they don’t consider that type of response to be anything other than posturing.” A hearing on the motions was set for May 14, but was passed by Fredericks, says a clerk in 333rd District Judge Joseph “Tad” Halbach’s court. HARDBALL As alleged in her Title IX federal complaint and jury demand, Fredericks started studies at South Texas in 1999 and began to have some personal and family problems. She alleges that after she approached McCabe to tell him she would have to drop his class, he began helping her by providing friendship, tutoring and “running interference” with other professors. She alleges he arranged special testing for her, told her he would be her mentor, introduced her to administrators at South Texas, obtained a job for her at an unidentified Houston firm, gave her money to repair her car and co-signed her financial aid application. After she became “dependent” on McCabe, he pressured her to begin a sexual relationship and “brutally and forcibly sodomized her when she was “bad,’ ” Fredericks alleges. Many of the “ assaults” took place on the South Texas campus, Fredericks alleges. Fredericks further alleges in her complaint that officials at South Texas were “well aware of McCabe’s nature as a sexual predator of his female students,” and Fredericks’ calls to officials about McCabe’s relationship with her were ignored or not returned. She also alleges McCabe suggested he would in the future “force Fredericks to have sex with other professors and officials at the college.” “If she’s suggesting McCabe was the school’s pimp, that is absolutely incorrect,” Androphy says in response to the allegation that McCabe wanted Fredericks to have sex with other South Texas officials. As to any other relationships between McCabe and students, Androphy says, “There may have been other liaisons, all within compliance with school regulations.” Fredericks further alleges in her complaint that as a result of the acts of the defendants, she has suffered severe mental health problems, and has and will continue to incur medical expenses. Alfini says that because of the litigation, he cannot respond in detail to some of the allegations. He also notes that he did not become dean until August 2003. Former Dean Frank T. Read, who is on a sabbatical from South Texas, could not be reached for comment before presstime. But Alfini says the school followed procedure in responding to Fredericks’ complaints. He says a faculty committee was formed in December 2002 or January 2003 to investigate and then make a report with a recommendation about McCabe’s tenure to the entire faculty, which, in turn, made a recommendation to the board of directors. Dwayne Newton, a partner in McCormick Hancock Newton in Houston who is South Texas’ defense lawyer in the Title IX suit, says school officials followed procedures. “As best we can tell, she never made any complaints to any officials at South Texas College of Law until she and professor McCabe ended their relationship. As soon as the administration knew of it, they launched their investigation immediately,” Newton says. Syd Phillips of Houston, Fredericks’ lead lawyer in the Title IX suit, says his client still is a student at South Texas, but is unsure if she will continue her legal education at the school. Phillips, a solo practitioner who handles employment law matters, says he will try to get the McCabe defamation suit abated. “I’ve been doing sexual harassment cases for a long time. I’ve seen this kind of conduct before — maybe not this egregious,” Phillips maintains. “I want to say I’m surprised at this kind of conduct, but in fact it does happen. It is despicable.” Based on the tone of the allegations in the competing suits, McCabe, Fredericks and their lawyers are playing hardball. According to exhibits in the McCabe file, which is in Halbach’s court, Peterson wrote a letter to Steinmann that informs him she will litigate “vigorously” against Fredericks. “We would prefer not to pursue Mrs. Fredericks in court, but her failure to rescind her threat to sue, (her failure to release her claim … left us with no choice,” Peterson wrote in a Jan. 20 letter to Steinmann. “If she thought we were bluffing, we assume she has been disabused of that notion.”

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