She Accused Him Of Sexual Assault Two Years After Their Drunken Hookup. Now He’s Destitute.
A reminder to college students — especially male students — that one drunken night can ruin your entire life.
This particular example comes from the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU). A male student, known only as Dev, attended a yearly event on April 23, 2016, known as the Med Ball. Before the main event, Dev met up with a few people he had met a few weeks earlier during a service trip to Cuba.
They are being referred to as Harry, who hosted a pre-party to the Med Ball; Jillian, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend and had begun a friends-with-benefits relationship with Harry; and Valerie, who attended the Med Ball with Lucas, her husband she was about to divorce. The story has been reported at length by Reason’s Robby Soave.
“Dev’s lawsuit is ongoing. The elements of his case resemble many others: a night of drunken sex that one party claims was consensual and another party remembers differently; a significant passage of time; an insinuation that eventually becomes a formal accusation; a fraught effort to mount a defense; a life-derailing finding of guilt. But with one court decision already against him, he’s in a tough spot. He’s financially ruined as well, and he can’t afford the caliber of lawyer he needs,” Soave wrote.
Dev, whose parents are Sri Lankan, moved to Michigan when he was young. A bright student, Dev would go on to graduate from Harvard in 2014 with multiple degrees. He then returned to Michigan for medical school. The Med Ball in question occurred during his first year of medical school.
At the pre-party, Dev spoke with Jillian and Valerie. While everyone was drinking, everyone agreed no one was too drunk before the pre-party ended. Valerie fought with her husband throughout the night. At the Med Ball, Dev taught Jillian how to waltz and to the cha-cha. In a lawsuit he would later file against MSU, he said that he and Jillian began grinding on the dance floor and that Jillian told him “I guess you’re my date.”
While Dev was dancing with Jillian, Valerie and her husband had one last major fight. Her husband, referred to as Lucas, demanded a divorce and left the event. Jillian ran after Valerie when she went to the bathroom to try and cheer her up.
At some point Valerie disappeared so Jillian went to find her. Jillian soon found her — outside the restaurant where the Med Ball was taking place and kissing Harry, with whom Jillian had a sexual relationship. Jillian fled up a flight of stairs and texted Valerie, “Just done. Don’t expect me to be ur friend anymore.”
Dev found Jillian “upset, fairly drunk, and crying,” a judicial opinion would later state. Jillian told Dev about her and Harry. Dev comforted her and eventually the two began kissing and groping each other. The two found a stairwell. Dev says Jillian removed her own dress and got down on her hands and knees — even asking for his jacket for cushion. Dev was too drunk to engage in penetrative sex, so they gave up.
“Everything was reciprocated,” Dev would later tell MSU investigators. “There was no hesitation. If anything, there was eagerness.”
Jillian would later claim that she was too drunk to consent and she had “shut down” during the sexual encounter as “a reaction to the hurt she felt from seeing [Valerie and Harry] kissing.” She told investigators she never explicitly agreed to the encounter but also never said “no.”
The group then went to a nightclub. Dev left the area momentarily. Harry apologized to Jillian for kissing Valerie. Jillian told him about her sexual encounter with Dev. Outside, Valerie couldn’t get in at first because Harry had her ID. When she entered the club, she found Harry and Jillian together.
Valerie would later tell investigators she didn’t remember dancing with Dev at the nightclub. Dev says they danced while Harry and Jillian talked. Valerie, according to Dev’s lawsuit, insisted Dev and Jillian would be good together and Dev at that point thought it was a possibility. Valerie then started kissing Dev, his lawsuit states.
They left the club and returned to Harry’s house. Jillian went to bed but Dev, Harry, and Valerie kept talking. Dev said he left the room and returned to find Harry and Valerie having sex.
Dev said he then went to sleep in Harry’s bed and found Jillian already in it. Both were fully clothed. Dev said he tried to kiss Jillian but she wanted to sleep. Jillian even acknowledged that nothing else happened after that.
Harry would later say he found Dev cuddling Jillian, so he kicked him out of the room and spoke to Jillian. Harry was upset with her.
Dev went to the living room and laid down on a large couch next to Valerie. Dev says Valerie was awake and made room for him on the couch, allowing him to touch her. Valerie later said she was asleep and awoke to Dev touching her sexually. She claims she said “no” and he left the couch.
Dev drove home in the morning, while Harry and Jillian went to brunch with another couple. That couple would tell investigators that when they saw the group of four at the Med Ball they all seemed unhappy. Harry and Jillian were unhappy at brunch as well, since Harry was mad at Jillian for her encounter with Dev.
For two years, Dev continued to study at MSU and had little interaction with Harry, Jillian, or Valerie. Dev wanted to try and spark up a relationship with Jillian, but she wanted to be with Harry.
Harry and Jillian didn’t last, and Jillian two years later requested that she not be placed in clinical rotation with Harry or Dev, claiming it would “significantly negatively affect my learning and well-being.” Valerie around that time also requested not to be placed with Dev. Because two people made a similar request about the same person, MSU met with the women and eventually opened a sexual misconduct into Dev. Jillian had gone to therapy in the two years since that fateful Med Ball, and now considered her brief encounter with Dev as sexual assault. She claimed it caused her to struggle in school. Valerie made a similar claim.
Dev was informed of Valerie’s allegation on April 17, 2018. He was not told about Jillian’s allegation until July 31. Jillian had initially said she didn’t want to cooperate with MSU’s investigation, but when she was interviewed about Valerie’s claim, she decided to move forward with her own claim.
“Valerie had a month to prepare for her interview with the investigators. Dev was given three days. His interview was scheduled for April 20—the same day as his internal medicine shelf exam, one of the toughest tests for doctors in training,” Soave reported. “Dev failed it—in large part, he claims, because of the pending investigation. ‘It affected my academic performance, to say the least,’ says Dev.”
Dev spoke with investigators, having no idea just how serious the situation was. He didn’t know at the time that the meeting would be his only chance to defend himself. Dev was suspended from MSU and expelled from the College of Medicine. He appealed and lost.
Dev sued the school, but a judge claimed that because the ulterior motives of the women were allegedly considered by MSU’s investigator, the accuracy of the proceedings could not be questioned. The judge didn’t seem to care that Dev couldn’t effectively cross-examine his accuser or the discrepancy between investigator reports regarding Jillian’s alcohol level and ability to consent.
Dev’s attorney abandoned his case, saying an appeal wasn’t realistic.
When Dev was expelled, he was $283, 000 in debt from Harvard and medical school. Had he become a doctor, he would have been able to pay off the debt, but he now believes he will never be able to graduate or become a doctor.
“I’m done,” Dev tells Reason. “I dedicated 8 to 12 years of studying for this. That was my life.”