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Utah State University Professor Sued for 1994 Sexual Assualt

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A former student at Utah State University has sued a professor for sexually assaulting her in 1994 when she was 17 and a freshman.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday before a 1st District Court by Jaime Aikele Caliendo, alleges Professor Dennis Hirst, then employed by university’s piano department, of assaulting her in his apartment.

Hirst, who was 23 at the time, sexually assaulted Caliendo when she fell asleep while listening to the music. She approached the Logan Police Department, which closed the case after failing to talk with Hirst, who insisted on not speaking without an attorney.

The latest lawsuit comes months after an investigation found four music instructors were using sexual violence and psychological abuse against students and promoting a culture of “sexism.”

“Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” University President Noelle Cockett said during a press conference in April.

Hirst was also alleged by outside investigators of contributing to the abuse of students. The university chose to send him a letter of reprimand instead of the dismissal in July.

Earlier this summer, the university hired an attorney from a law firm Parr Brown to investigate Caliendo’s claims.

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