Kaitlyn Wassel, a former majorette at Penn State University, has initiated legal action against the institution, accusing Blue Band majorette coach Heather Bean of sexual and gender-based harassment.
Wassel alleges that the university failed to protect her from the coach’s abuse, detailing instances of mistreatment that she claims led to severe emotional distress.
Claims of ‘Fat Shaming’ and Abuse:
In her lawsuit against Penn State, Wassel asserts that Heather Bean intentionally subjected her to ‘fat shaming’ tactics, including forcing her to wear a purposely ill-fitting uniform for four years.
Bean allegedly denied Wassel the option to exchange uniforms or alter the garment, contributing to Wassel’s struggles with an eating disorder.
The accusations of intentional mistreatment and the impact on Wassel’s mental health underscore the severity of the alleged abuse, bringing attention to the duty of care owed to students.
Insults, Threats, and Reporting Hindrance:
Bean is accused of hurling derogatory insults at Wassel, blaming her for an outbreak of lice, and obstructing her from reporting a sexual assault incident in 2018.
Wassel claims that the coach threatened to remove her from the team if she reported the abuse, creating an environment of fear and intimidation.
The toxic behavior described in the lawsuit highlights not only the verbal abuse but also the alleged attempts to silence Wassel, raising questions about the university’s responsibility to intervene.
Impact on Mental Health and Suicide Attempt:
Wassel contends that the prolonged abuse by Bean, coupled with insults and threats, led to an eating disorder and a suicide attempt in May 2021, resulting in hospitalization.
She attributes the attempt to the emotional toll of the coach’s behavior and claims to suffer from ongoing panic attacks.
The lawsuit provides a poignant account of the profound impact of the alleged harassment on Wassel’s mental well-being, reinforcing the need for institutions to prioritize the safety and mental health of their students.
University Investigation and Lack of Disciplinary Action:
Following the allegations, an investigation into Bean’s conduct was conducted, revealing policy violations but insufficient evidence of sexual harassment or discrimination.
Despite the findings, Bean resigned from her position, preventing university disciplinary action.
The legal complexities surrounding Bean’s resignation and the lack of conclusive evidence raise questions about accountability within the university and the effectiveness of investigative processes.
Legal Actions and Seeking Damages:
Wassel, along with four other twirlers from the Blue Band, filed a complaint against Bean, seeking unspecified damages for Title IX violations and equal protection breaches.
Wassel asserts that university administrators, including Blue Band director Gregory Drane, were aware of Bean’s behavior but allegedly ignored it.
The legal actions underscore the collective effort of those affected, shedding light on the broader issue of institutional accountability and the pursuit of justice for survivors of harassment.
Kaitlyn Wassel’s lawsuit against Penn State unveils disturbing allegations of ‘fat shaming,’ abuse, and harassment within the Blue Band.
The legal battle not only seeks redress for the specific incidents but also calls attention to the broader responsibilities of educational institutions in safeguarding the well-being of their students.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn