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 Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Johnson C. Smith University (“JSCU”) and Upward Bound Inc. Jane Doe alleges she was sexually assaulted in the summer program by staff member when she was 15 years old.

Media Advisory – North Carolina April 15, 2020

 Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Johnson C. Smith University (“JSCU”) and Upward Bound Inc. Jane Doe alleges she was sexually assaulted in the summer program by staff member when she was 15 years old.

 The Director of Upward Bound at the time, Michael J. Peterson, allegedly sexually assaulted Jane Doe and other teens. Peterson allegedly admitted to having sexual relations with students on a controlled phone call monitored by police

 

Peterson’s actions were allegedly well known by other students, administrators and staff at Upward Bound at JSCU at the time of alleged assault.

 

(North Carolina) – According to the Civil Complaint filed by Jeff Herman of Herman Law against Defendants Johnson C. Smith University and Upward Bound, Inc.:

 

  • When Plaintiff was 15 years old, she was sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by Michael J. Peterson who was in charge of the summer Upward Bound program at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, N.C.;
  • Approximately two weeks after the start of the summer program, Plaintiff came to Peterson’s office at JSCU seeking to change one of her classes. While alone with Plaintiff inside his office, Peterson allegedly sexually assaulted Plaintiff. Plaintiff had not previously engaged in sexual activity with any other person;
  • Subsequently, Peterson allegedly sexually assaulted Plaintiff at least eight other occasions;
  • Plaintiff reported Peterson’s alleged sexual assaults to police officials in Charlotte and Atlanta in 2017-18. During a controlled telephone call between Plaintiff and Peterson monitored by police, Peterson admitted to sexual contacts with female students, claiming that he had a “good sickness”;
  • Upon information and belief, during the time Plaintiff was being sexually assaulted by Peterson, Upward Bound and JSCU each knew or had reason to know that Peterson posed a foreseeable risk of sexual assault or abuse to children with whom he would have contact in his duties and activities as Director of the Upward Bound program at JSCU.

 

 “The allegations are that JSCU and Outward Bound failed to protect our client from this Administrator’s grooming and sexual abuse. I am determined to help this brave young woman share her story, begin the long path to healing, and seek justice,” said Attorney Jeff Herman.

 

 

Herman Law is a law firm for victims of sexual abuse across the nation. The firm is led by its founder, Jeff Herman, who is recognized as one of the country’s leading attorneys for child victims of sexual abuse. The firm has obtained over $200 million in verdicts and settlements. Jeff has developed a national reputation for his powerful advocacy and unwavering dedication to his clients. Herman Law is committed to empowering victims of sexual abuse to take back their lives and begin the healing process.

 

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