A former Sacred Heart University student, accused of making up rape allegations against two football players to gain sympathy from a prospective boyfriend, was denied a pretrial probation program Friday. “This kind of false report is lethal to all true victims,” Superior Court Judge Maureen Dennis stated in denying accelerated rehabilitation for 19-year-old Nikki Yovino. “Her actions altered two lives in a significant way. If not for the extraordinary efforts involved in this investigation, the lives of these two young men could have been altered much more severely.”
ctpost.com By Daniel Tepfer
Court Rulings & Settlements
This week a federal judge tossed a lawsuit filed by a former Colgate University student who was expelled over three alleged sexual assaults. The student, who was able to sue without using his real name, was thrown out of Colgate in 2015 as a senior. A conduct board found that he had sexually assaulted three women during his freshman year.
syracuse.com By Julie McMahon
A William Paterson University police detective, Ellen DeSimone, ordered the arrest of two male students accused of sex assault. A federal appeals court recently ruled that DeSimone must first prove the reasonableness of the arrests before she can be determined immune. The judge stated. “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
FULL STORY BELOW:
A Jane Doe filed charges against her William Paterson University classmates, Collick and Williams, claiming they sexually assaulted her. The two were arrested, but a New Jersey grand jury declined to indict them, according to Third Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth’s opinion.
Collick and Williams sued the university, its police department, and detective Ellen DeSimone for alleged violations of Title IX, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the state constitution, and the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments.
The trial court held that DeSimone was not protected by qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claim because there were not enough facts to support the assertion that the defendants did not violate the plaintiffs’ rights. The Third Circuit agreed.
“We have reviewed the pleadings and heard oral argument. We agree with the district court’s conclusion that it could not grant qualified immunity to DeSimone on the Fourth Amendment claim,” Roth said. “Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence establishes that DeSimone’s entitlement to qualified immunity depends on the objective reasonableness of her actions at the time she applied for the arrest warrants.”
The judge continued, “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
Roth said that discovery may show that DeSimone acted reasonably by not investigating further steps after she received Doe’s report or that DeSimone made no pertinent omissions in her warrant applications. Or it might show the opposite, Roth said—the point being, those facts were not available to the district judge.
Michael J. Epstein who represented the plaintiffs, said he was pleased with the decision and that the lawsuit was aimed at clearing his clients’ names. “Given the amount of time that’s passed we’re not trying to get them back into the college but we’re trying to get their records cleared,” he said.
www.law.com By P.J. Dannunzio
The Obama administration warned colleges against cross-examining students who claim they were victims of sexual misconduct, but judges who hear the lawsuits of accused students don’t seem to agree. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge told Pomona College it deprived an accused student of a “fair hearing” by finding him responsible with no opportunity to submit questions to his accuser, and ordered it to remove his two-semester suspension.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
A sophomore pre-med student’s contention that two Penn State administrators should be held in contempt for trying to circumvent a federal judge’s order is meritless and should be denied, the university says…Doe contends Danny Shaha, interim assistant vice president for student affairs, and Karen Feldbaum, interim director of the Office of Student Conduct, should be found in contempt of the August order. Doe cites a Sept. 25 email from Shaha notifying him that a Title IX panel’s June finding that he violated the Student Code of Conduct and the sanctions it imposed had been withdrawn and that he would be retried Wednesday before a new panel. [Notice how ‘interim’ staff are ruining males before these ‘interim’ folks move on to the next college and do their male damage..SOS]
pennlive.com By John Beauge
On Monday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel ordered Pomona College to dismiss the college’s findings and two-semester suspension of an accused male student, finding that Pomona College’s Title IX disciplinary process unlawfully denied the student a fair hearing.
Last July, Pomona College found the accused student responsible for sexual misconduct and issued the suspension following a campus hearing, which the female accuser refused to attend. On July 26, 2016, John Doe, as the wrongfully accused student is identified in court records, appealed Pomona College’s Title IX action to the California Superior Court, and named Samuel D. Glick, Chairman of the Pomona College Board of Trustees, Miriam Feldblum, Dean of Students, and Darren Mooko, Pomona College’s Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Officer as respondents. In August 2016, Judge Strobel ordered Pomona College to stay the suspension pending a final ruling on John Doe’s appeal, which has now been issued against Pomona College.
In her final ruling, Judge Strobel expressed particular concern about Pomona College’s denial of the accused student’s right to question the complainant at a hearing, in light of last year’s Court of Appeal decision involving the University of California, San Diego, Doe v. Regents of the University of California (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 1055.
“Pomona College’s Title IX investigation process has been devastating for the student and his entire family,” said Mark Hathaway, attorney for John Doe. “Pomona College presumed him guilty from the start and discounted evidence that he was the victim and wrongfully accused by a female student from another college. John Doe is glad to finally have vindication.”
Drake University is one step closer to settlement negotiations with a student it expelled after a female student accused him of sexual assault but admitted that she assaulted him. The private institution in Iowa lost its motion to dismiss a Title IX claim against the university and its board of trustees brought by Thomas Rossley Jr., who has a learning disability for which he takes multiple medications…The order is not related to the “Title IX retaliation” lawsuit against Drake filed in February by Rossley’s father Tom, who served on the university’s board for 23 years before pleading for his son internally during the Title IX adjudication. Drake violated state law in forcing him to resign, Rossley claimed.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
A Penn State pre-med student is accusing the university of trying to circumvent a federal judge’s order and throw him out of school. John Doe, makes the allegation in a motion filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court seeking to have two university’s administrators held in civil contempt of court. Last August, John Doe succeeded in court and obtained a preliminary injunction to prevent a one-semester suspension. But then PSU withdrew the panel’s finding of responsibility and sanctions. Penn State wants to retrying Doe before a new Title IX panel on Oct. 25. Doe accuses the university and the other defendants in his lawsuit of having a goal to have him “once again removed through a fatally flawed and biased process.”
pennlive.com By John Beauge
Since April 2011, at least 188 students accused of sexual misconduct at universities around the country have brought lawsuits alleging that they were unfairly treated in their schools’ adjudication processes. As I’ve noted in the past, these lawsuits typically include one or more of the following three claims: 1) denial of constitutional due process rights (at public universities); 2) sex discrimination in violation of Title IX; and 3) breach of contract. Traditionally, courts have deferred to universities’ judgment, but as these cases have proliferated over the past few years, a number of courts recognize the unusually high stakes and have held that schools must offer at least the most basic elements of a fair procedure before labeling students as sex offenders.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
University of North Carolina football player Allen Artis hit it off with Delaney Robinson. That night they had sex — that is not in dispute. Much else would be though, after she lodged a rape accusation. Most of the case remained out of public view until it was resolved this summer. Police, court and campus documents obtained by RealClearInvestigations, as well as exclusive interviews offer a rare inside look at the complex dynamics of sexual assault accusations and justice on American campuses. They illuminate a dense and murky landscape where the “he said, she said” vagaries of sexual consent are exacerbated not only by drugs and alcohol but politically charged campus rape-response procedures.
realclearinvestigations.com By Ashe Schow