A recent post on this blog talked about concerns that are being raised across the country regarding the application of due process in cases of alleged sex crimes on college campuses. While nobody would suggest that allegations of rape, sexual assault, or other sexual misconduct should be taken lightly, there have been many anecdotal examples of alleged discrimination against those accused of such behavior. One such situation stemmed from allegations made against a Yale student in 2012, and earlier this month, the Ivy League university reached a settlement with the student who says he was wrongfully and unfairly expelled. The settlement comes even as another lawsuit is continuing against Yale over virtually the same issues.
A Complicated Plot
According to several news sources, a young man—identified only as John Doe—was accused of sexual assault in 2012. In the lawsuit, Doe admitted to having a sexual relationship with the accuser but that all activity was consensual. He said that the accuser fabricated sexual assault allegations in an effort to gain control over the school’s Native American Cultural Center. Doe identifies as Lakota Sioux while the accuser identifies as Navajo. The young man and his attorneys indicated that accusations were designed to remove Doe and the center’s director—who also identifies as Lakota Sioux—so that Navajo students could benefit.
Doe was arrested on several charges including felony sexual assault and unlawful restraint. He said he was assured he could return to school if he pleaded no-contest to reduced charges of unlawful restraint, but after his plea, Yale expelled him anyway. The lawsuit claimed Doe was simply a “whipping boy” and was used to demonstrate the school’s new zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual misconduct.
Earlier this month, a Hartford federal judge signed off on a settlement to end the lawsuit, court documents indicate. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but a school spokesman said there was no payment being made to the former student. Doe’s lawyer would not go into specifics but said that a settlement like this one could include apologies and other non-financial considerations. Doe graduated from another university, so re-admission not being sought.
Basketball Star’s Case Continues
The settlement comes as another, somewhat similar case against Yale nears its trial date. A former men’s basketball standout sued the school over his expulsion in 2016 related to a Title IX sexual misconduct claim. The young man’s suit alleges that his accuser was misled and coerced by one of the school’s Title IX officers into cooperating with the formal complaint. He admitted to having an ongoing sexual relationship with the accuser, but the accusations stemmed from a particular incident in October of 2014.
The lawsuit says that Yale’s Title IX officer pursued the claim even though the accuser told him—the officer—that the basketball star did not hear her when she tried to stop the encounter. The player maintains that all of their interactions were consensual with no indications of a problem. The young man is seeking financial damages and the ability to finish his degree at the prestigious university. He says that Yale’s decision to expel him has greatly affected his academic and employment opportunities. The case is scheduled for trial in February.
Protecting Your Rights
If you or someone you love has been affected by false or mishandled allegations of sexual assault, you may be entitled to collect compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Hartford to discuss your options today. Call [[phone1]] for a free, no-obligation consultation at Woolf Law Firm, LLC.