Police determined the rape accusation was 'unfounded,' but school punished him anyway
A Lynn University student is suing his school after he was suspended for one year for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student.
The suing student, identified in court documents as John Doe, attended a party while a freshmen where underage drinking was occurring. There he met a female student (who I'm not naming because she's not being sued and I'm not naming the accused) and the two began talking. Doe's lawsuit contends that she "showed no signs of being intoxicated."
Around 8:30 p.m. that night, the two met in a dorm room and had sex. Again, Doe's lawsuit claims she showed no signs of intoxication and was a willing participant in the activity. But the next day, she filed a rape complaint with campus security. Police noticed she did not use the word "rape" when they interviewed her.
After a more complete investigation, including campus surveillance videos, they not only determined the accusation to be "unfounded" but also that the accuser did not seem at all intoxicated. They declined to bring charges.
That didn't stop Lynn University from putting Doe through a disciplinary hearing in which he was not allowed an attorney, contrary to school policy. The accuser's attorney (she was allowed one) was permitted to review the campus surveillance videos and have multiple private communications with campus investigators, the accuser's mother and potential witnesses. The accuser's attorney was also allowed to answer questions for her and intervene in the proceedings.
Doe's mother, who acted as his adviser since he wasn't allowed legal representation, was not allowed to speak.
In addition, Doe was not allowed to present questions for cross-examination. He had submitted 60 question in advance to be asked of his accuser and her witnesses, but the administrator running the hearing refused, saying she "already knew the answers." All questions directed at the accuser were prepared by her attorney, and her attorney was allowed to tell her how to answer.
The police officers who determined the accusation to be "unfounded" were not called to testify, and the physical evidence collected when the accuser made her report was not included. Even Doe's closing statement was cut off just after he began reading it, whereas his accuser was allowed to read her statement in its entirety.
Doe was found responsible for sexual assault and suspended for one year. His appeal was denied. A one-year suspension may not sound as bad as expulsion, but given the atmosphere on college campuses, it seems unlikely that Doe would be able to return to campus without protests demanding the school not reinstate "a rapist."
Doe is suing under Title IX, an anti-gender discrimination law, alleging the school discriminated against him because he is a man, leading to an erroneous outcome. This accusation has had mixed results in court because it's hard to prove that even most glaring and unfair lack of due process is due to the accused's gender.
Doe might have a better chance with his breach of contract claim, since the school clearly violated its own rules in order to assist the accuser. The Washington Examiner reached out to the accuser in this case, but has not heard back.