Expelled ASU Grad Student Accused of Rape Suing State for $4.1 Million
A former graduate student at Arizona State University accused by another student in 2017 of sexual assault is demanding $4.1 million from the state, claiming the school damaged his reputation by expelling him after media attention.
The complaint by Matthew Green, filed in Arizona U.S. District Court on December 13, 2018, names as defendants the Arizona Board of Regents, ASU's Dean of Students office, and various ASU officials. Green is seeking damages, claiming that ASU's "unlawful and unfair conduct" violated his educational and civil rights, his right to due process and equal protection, breach of contract, gross negligence, defamation, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Green "remains short of the credits needed for graduation – which has been delayed over 18 months – and his reputation and economic interests have been forever tarnished for the university's actions."
His Mesa lawyer, Dana Hogle, told the Board of Regents in June they would settle for $4.1 million, according to a notice of claim obtained by Phoenix New Times after Green filed the federal complaint.
As New Times detailed in a December 13, 2017, article, the incident between former ASU students Matthew Green and Brooke Lewis highlighted problems with the university's discipline system in handling such rape allegations and denials.
Lewis called 911 in the early morning hours of April 1, 2017, accusing Green, who she had met that night at the Vine Tavern, of raping her in her Vista del Sol dorm room in Tempe. A subsequent ASU police investigation has not resulted in any criminal charges.
Green is currently out of state and unavailable for comment, according to the Hogle Law Firm, which is representing him. The firm did not have an additional statement on Friday.
Lewis, who said last year that she wanted to break stereotypes by giving up her anonymity in the case, graduated last year with a bachelor's degree in business and human development and now lives in California, according to her LinkedIn page.
Following the incident, ASU officials reached a conclusion that sided with Lewis, and sent Green an expulsion notice in July 2017.
That's where university's disciplinary process began to go "awry," states the complaint filed in Arizona U.S. District Court on December 13, 2018. "The alleged assault had already been investigated by police and the facts did not support a finding that any such assault had occurred, and no charges were brought against Plaintiff."
Green, who attended the Polytechnic campus in pursuit of a master's degree in engineering, soon appealed the decision. He denied Lewis' claims before a three-member hearing board on November 17, 2017, that included Craig Allen, associate dean of Barrett Honors College. The panel then voted 3-0 that Green had violated the student code of conduct because "consent may never be given by a person who is incapacitated by drugs (or) alcohol," but also voted 3-0 that he had not harmed Lewis.
As an article on the case by Harry Shukman for Babe.net covered, the board voted 2-1 to reverse the July expulsion because it was "too severe."
"He carries a 3.9 grade point average and is considered an essential member of one of ASU’s research teams," the board noted.
Following the expulsion reversal, Lewis talked to Babe.net and, the next month, to New Times. As Green's lawsuit states, New Times "began calling both the Hearing Board officers as well as counsel undersigned."
James Rund, ASU senior vice president for Educational Outreach and Student Services, "overruled the recommendation of the Hearing Board and decided to uphold the original sanction of expulsion in a letter dated December 13, 2017."
A Change.org petition by Lewis' supporters credits the turnabout to "14k signatures and negative media attention."
In providing Green's notice of claim to New Times last month, the Arizona Board of Regents also attached its December 20 motion to dismiss Green's federal complaint. In the motion, ABOR's lawyers from the Cohen Dowd Quigley law firm of Phoenix argue that the complaint is "fatally flawed in multiple respects."
The complaint doesn't state a claim for relief against any named defendant, doesn't highlight facts supporting Green's request for punitive damages, according to ABOR's motion to dismiss. Also, it alleges, Green failed to comply with mandatory deadline requirements.