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
Positive legislation, Charges Dropped Against Males, Girls Charged for Making False Accusations
Liberty University says a reported abduction and sexual assault in September was not true. On September 28, LU released a statement saying that a student was sexually assaulted after being offered a ride to her dorm…After further investigation, LU officials say there was no abduction by a stranger or otherwise.
wset.com by Catherine Doss
On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took on one of former President Barack Obama’s most controversial regulatory actions: a set of 2011 campus disciplinary procedures for students accused of sexual assault. DeVos said [Obama’s] system “is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.”
time.com By Stuart Taylor Jr.
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 Trump administration appears to have tapped a longtime critic of the federal government’s role in education policy for a job at the Education Department. Hans Bader, who until last week served as senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will be joining DoED’s Office of General Counsel.
Many times throughout history societies cast aside the idea of due process, such as during the Salem witch trials and the 1980s and ’90s satanic day care scares. In each case, those accused were not given a proper chance to defend themselves, and society was told to “believe the victim.” But due process appears to be making a comeback. Accused students have been racking up settlements with their universities, DeVos rescinded the Obama-era anti due process Title IX guidance, and California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation mentioning due process concerns as his reason for vetoing.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Four women met late last month at a restaurant in a Twin Cities. Each had a son who had been accused at college of sexual assault. One was expelled and another suspended. The other two were cleared, yet one had contemplated suicide and the other was so crushed he had not returned to school. Some of the mothers met with Ms. DeVos in July to tell their stories, and Ms. DeVos alluded to them in a speech she gave last month.
nytimes.com By Hartocollis & Capecchioct
The “Yes Means Yes” bill was a big deal when Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed it into law in 2014. It made California the first state to pass an “affirmative consent” law requiring all parties to get consent for each touch each time; silence can not be interpreted as consent. Now, it seems, Brown is not so certain about what has been wrought. This week, in an unexpected move, Brown vetoed a new bill that would have broadened the definitions and rules regarding alleged sexual misconduct for students attending California colleges and universities. Brown wrote he could not endorse the bill because of troubling concerns that have arisen in recent years. He noted that since he signed Yes Means Yes, “thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.”
theatlantic.com By Emily Yoffe
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.”
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB169, there by refusing to codifying 2011 Obama era guidelines. Thank you Jerry for supporting the presumption of innocence! Read Gov. Brown’s veto statement here.