University of Idaho, former Vandal athlete settle lawsuit over handling of sexual assault

Mairin Jameson
Credit: University of Idaho Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho – The University of Idaho and a former Vandal athlete have settled a suit brought forward over the university’s handling of her sexual assault complaint.

The State of Idaho will pay Mairin Jameson $160,000 and her lawsuit against the university will be dismissed.

The original lawsuit alleged former Athletic Director Rob Spear and other university officials failed to act when Jameson brought sexual assault claims forward.

In 2013, Jameson was on the swim and dive team at the U of I. Her complaint began with several encounters that year with a football player named Jahrie Z. Level. According to Jameson, he confronted her on multiple occasions with aggressive sexual advances, all of which she refused. She also witnessed Level harassing and intimidating another student who refused his actions.

The lawsuit stated the other student reportedly told football coach Paul Petrino about the incident and said he needed to do something about Level.

“It was clear from her conversation with Petrino that he didn’t really care,” the complaint said. She also told her track coach about what happened.

Jameson also said Level reached under her skirt and sexually assaulted her at a Moscow bar. That incident was reported to an athletics coordinator for the swim team, who called Moscow Police. Police reported the sexual assault and harassment to Petrino and Speer, who allegedly never reported it to the Dean of Students.

At a meeting with Jameson, Spear and Petrino reportedly told her the University could not investigate her sexual assault because it occurred off campus, which was false.

Level was charged with misdemeanor battery and dismissed from the football team in May 2013.

Jameson went public about her experience in a blog post in 2018 and filed the federal lawsuit shortly thereafter.

Spear, who had been on administrative leave for years as the university looked into Jameson’s case, was fired on August 16, 2018.

According to a release from the U of I, Jameson is planning to work alongside the university’s new athletic director, Terry Gawlik, to further improve the culture within the athletic department, as well as the college experience for all student athletes.

“I am committed to providing the leadership needed to continue to improve the culture inside Vandal Athletics, and to educate and train our coaches, staff and student-athletes so our athletes have the best possible college experience in their studies, in their competition and in their personal growth,” said Gawlik. “I welcome a partnership with Mairin in these efforts. She was a fine student and a conference champion athlete at the University of Idaho. Her willingness to work with our current student-athletes and work with the Athletic Department speaks volumes of her character and bravery.”

Jameson plans to visit campus in the coming months to talk with student athletes.

“I am proud to see the positive changes that have taken place at Idaho since coming forward with my story,” Jameson said. “I am impressed with their hiring of Terry as the new athletic director. I know that she carries the same sentiments as I do to continue to make positive changes at the university. I am looking forward to working with her to further improve the University of Idaho and will continue to help raise national awareness to these campus issues.”

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