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Jury Rules in Favor of Student Accused of Sexual Assault

By Net Assets posted 13 days ago

  

(From Inside Higher Ed) A former college student has won more than $100,000 from his alma mater after a federal jury found the private nonprofit institution mishandled sexual assault allegations against him. The case stems an episode that happened seven years ago. John Doe, as he is known in court filings, was accused of sexual assault during an event sponsored by the school and subsequently suspended for more than a year, though those charges were ultimately dropped by the district attorney's office after an investigation involving forensic testing and surveillance footage of the event. Doe's lawsuit contends that college officials ignored his assertions that someone else was to blame for the assault. 

The case is significant in that it is the first sexual assault lawsuit against a university to reach a jury trial since the Obama administration rewrote rules on how college officials should adjudicate campus sexual violence. Some activists who believe the Obama rules lacked due process for accused students have seized on the Boston College ruling as validation that these campus proceedings are unfair and potentially ruinous of the college and professional careers of those accused. The decision is also a sign that juries are now less inclined to favor colleges, said Peter Lake, an expert in higher education law. He said that the case carries since the “Title IX overtones" since the Title IX-related claims were dismissed by the federal district court in 2016,and is likely to be remembered in the ongoing war over how colleges handle sexual assaults.

More at Inside Higher Ed

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