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He Was Expelled Even Though His Accuser’s Stories All Had Issues. The School Just Settled His Lawsuit.

  A male student who was expelled from Grinnell College after the school violated its own procedures has come to an undisclosed agreement wi...

 A male student who was expelled from Grinnell College after the school violated its own procedures has come to an undisclosed agreement with the school to settle his lawsuit.

The student, whom  referred to as John Doe, sued Grinnell after he was expelled even though his three accusers’ stories all had issues. His first accuser, referred to as Jane Roe, claimed to Grinnell’s Title IX office that John sexually assaulted her and possibly other students. She then convinced two other students — who were referred to as Sarah and Emily (not their real names) — to file reports against John as well. Jane and Sarah claimed John “engaged in nonconsensual sexual intercourse” with them, while Emily claimed he “engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact” with her.

John was told he had been accused by multiple women and barred from campus before any investigation had taken place. The school also incorrectly informed John that all three women accused him of nonconsensual intercourse. Eventually, John was found responsible to have nonconsensual sexual intercourse with Sarah and nonconsensual sexual contact with Emily. He was also found responsible for nonconsensual sexual contact with Jane, even though that’s not what she alleged. He was found not responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse with Jane, his primary accuser.

John alleged in his lawsuit that in the case of Sarah, the second accuser, she was the aggressor in the sexual intercourse:

We headed back to her room at which point I asked her if I could come inside, she said yes, she was getting ready for bed… I was planning on staying with her for a little bit and talking while… we were… winding down… but she started kissing me… and was… physically… aggressive… physically forward…  She was… kind of pressing her body against mine… pressing my leg between her legs… and kissing me aggressively… so I responded… with some more.

The school adjudicator used unexplainable reasons to determine John was responsible.

The adjudicator determined that John did not have nonconsensual sexual intercourse with Jane but did engage in nonconsensual sexual contact, which Jane did not allege. The adjudicator did not explain what that contact was.

For the second accuser, Sarah, the adjudicator claimed John was not credible when he said he “had no intention of engaging in sexual activity with” her because he kissed her on the cheek when they got into bed.

The adjudicator also discounted John’s claims about what the third accuser, Emily, said. Accepting that he was physically aroused and saying that it was “unlikely” he would have rubbed his penis against her “without being aware of doing so.” Of course, the two were lying next to each other in bed watching TV, and he could have shifted in a way that made it seem like that’s what he was doing.

John was expelled but appealed the decision, alleging the adjudicator “made substantial errors in the processing of evidence, substantially affecting the fairness of the decision.” His appeal was denied and he was expelled.

John sued, and Grinnell College tried to get the case dismissed. U.S. District Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger — an Obama appointee — denied Grinnell’s motion to dismiss, arguing that John raised a “genuine issue of material fact” when he alleged the college was biased against him because he is a male and that it deviated from its own policies and procedures in order to find him responsible.

Following Ebinger’s ruling, John and Grinnell reached a settlement, which is common in these situations, as schools would rather not have these lawsuits go to trial.  

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