Three other women have sued the Louisiana Board of Regents and the LSU and University of Louisiana systems, claiming they were sexually assaulted by the same man between 2015 and 2021 and that university officials were not not intervened.
Their lawsuit, filed Wednesday in federal court, is the second in recent months to focus on how universities handled reports against 2020 UL graduate Victor Daniel Silva.
Silva racked up sexual assault allegations at LSU, UL and Louisiana Tech — schools he attended between 2014 and 2020. But none of those universities bothered to warn each other about his behavior during his transfer between them, according to the complainants. When Silva was facing a sexual misconduct allegation at one university, he was able to easily enroll at another and resume his problematic behavior, according to the lawsuit.
Plaintiffs in Wednesday’s lawsuit, and a plaintiff who filed a separate lawsuit in May, allege that universities violated federal and state laws, which require campuses to investigate reports of sexual misconduct and warn each other each other when students disciplined for such behavior try to transfer to another public school. Plaintiffs also sued the Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Lafayette Police Department, and the respective presidents of each university.
The women are not identified by name in court documents and Silva is not listed as a defendant in Wednesday’s lawsuit or in May’s lawsuit.
“Throughout his nearly six years as a student at Louisiana colleges, Victor Silva left a trail of sexual assault allegations and victims – but never missed a semester” , says the lawsuit.
Silva was also largely successful in avoiding criminal prosecution. He was arrested in 2015 for second-degree rape in East Baton Rouge Parish, but court records show no movement in the case after Silva was released from prison in April of that year.
Plaintiffs in Wednesday’s trial say Silva’s assaults caused them severe emotional distress.
One is a former LSU student who met Silva in 2014 when she was a freshman on campus. Although Silva withdrew from LSU after another student told police he raped her during her first semester on campus, he later returned to Baton Rouge that spring for a party. . That’s when the complainant says she saw him at a frat party and he later raped her in her dorm.
She struggled thereafter; his grades plummeted. LSU then expelled her for poor academic performance. But the lawsuit says LSU officials knew when they expelled her why she was floundering.
“Plaintiff reported to her Title IX office that she had been sexually assaulted on campus and asked them for help, including access to mental health services,” the lawsuit states. “Not only did the office explicitly refuse to pursue any meaningful investigation of Silva, despite understanding that Silva had been accused of sexual misconduct before, they failed to provide him with the services requested.”
Another complainant is a former UL student who met Silva in 2019 during a physical chemistry class. They started dating and started living together in 2020. But after spending a night with the student’s close friend, the friend said she woke up in the middle of the night with Silva who had assaulted her. The plaintiff also said that Silva would force her to have sex and easily got angry with her. She broke up with him, but lived in fear of him afterward, according to the lawsuit.
The third plaintiff didn’t meet Silva until after he graduated and went to work as a process engineer for an Arkansas company. Silva contacted her frequently at work, where she was environmental safety manager and 12 years his senior. After changing jobs in 2021, she agreed to date Silva for Valentine’s Day. But after having a drink that night, the next thing she remembered was that Silva had raped her, according to the lawsuit.
She later discovered that Silva, despite introducing himself by his middle name of “Daniel”, was accused under his first name of multiple sexual assaults. She moved and changed jobs.
Silva’s case prompted the Louisiana Legislature last year to tighten sexual assault reporting requirements again, requiring universities to include a notice on a student’s transcript if he was attempting to transfer a sexual misconduct or similar complaint still pending against him. His case was first revealed in a USA Today investigation.
The women sought a jury trial with damages to be determined later.
Writer James Finn contributed to this report.