Friday, February 27, 2009

Gonzaga sued by former student over false accusations

Comment: In the following story, the two individuals involved had the same amount to drink and she initiated the sexual advances. But guess who was determined to have had too much to drink to give consent? The woman involved also tried to claim she was given the date rape drug GHB, but it was determined that she wasn't. That didn't stop the school from claiming, at the first hearing, that she had been drugged. Now, this young man can't become a lawyer, because no law school is willing to admit him.

Lawsuit over false accusation.

SPOKANE, Wash. - A man has filed a lawsuit against Gonzaga University for kicking him out of its law school because of what he calls unproven date rape drug allegations against him.

The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court of Eastern Washington identifies the victim only as John Doe and claims breach of education contract and violation of the consumer protection act against Gonzaga. It also claims negligence against Gonzaga and Gonzaga's Associate Security Director Robert Cepeda.

Monday afternoon Gonzaga University spokesman Dale Goodwin said the school could not comment yet on the lawsuit because school officials were not available due to the Presidents' Day holiday.

The man said in the complaint that he invited a female Gonzaga Law School student over to his apartment for dinner and a movie in December 2005. He said they both drank the same amount of wine over several hours and she did not show any signs of intoxication.

The lawsuit states the woman "initiated sexual advances toward plaintiff, which he reciprocated." It states she became ill at some point, the sexual activity stopped, and she slept on the man's couch at his apartment overnight.

The next morning the lawsuit states that she did not remember what happened the night before so the man told her. The lawsuit states she went back to sleep at his apartment and later went to a hospital emergency room.

The lawsuit then states she reportedly told emergency room personnel that she thought she had been drugged and asked to be tested as she had drank the same amount of alcohol in the past and not gotten sick. She asked to be tested for GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, which is sometimes referred to as a "date rape" drug.

The lawsuit states the test came back to show a level of GHB in her body that is within naturally occuring limits.

The woman filed a complaint with Gonzaga and law enforcement authorities. A Spokane County detective asked the man to take a polygraph test, which he later did. The lawsuit says the man passed the polygraph test and that the Spokane County Sheriff's Office closed its investigation. The man was not charged with any crime.

The lawsuit states Gonzaga convened a Discipline Board to hear the woman's allegations. The man felt the board's initial hearing did not handle his case fairly. The lawsuit says that Cepada acted as a member of the panel and that he represented that the amount of GHB in the woman's test was indicative of a date rape drug and too high of a level to be naturally occurring in her body.

The lawsuit says the man appealed the board's decision and got a second hearing where he presented toxicologist testimony that refuted the woman had been drugged. The board agreed, but still found the man guilty of sexual assault because "a reasonable person would have known that [Jane Doe] was not competent to give consent to sexual activity because of the large amount of alcohol she consumed in a relatively short time." The man says he was expelled from school based on this ruling.

The man states in the lawsuit he tried to apply to four other law schools, but was rejected because he truthfully explained the reason behind his explusion from Gonzaga Law School. The man later found work in Alaska that had no legal ties.

The lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount of damages, but states the man had more than $60,000 to repay in student loans from his time at Gonzaga Law School. The lawsuit filed Friday also demands a jury trial within six weeks.