Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lawsuit by Player Expelled by Xavier U. After Rape Accusation Can Proceed

Another young man claims that a school bowed to a public outcry about rape to make him a scapegoat. Here is the story as reported here:

A judge has decided that most of the claims in a lawsuit by a former Xavier University basketball player, who has accused the Ohio university of damaging his reputation in a rushed decision to expel him after what he says was a false rape accusation, can proceed to trial, the Associated Press reported.

The university expelled Dezmine Wells in 2012 after another student accused him of raping her. But the woman later decided not to press charges, and a grand jury declined to indict Mr. Wells after hearing evidence in the case.

In a federal lawsuit filed in August, Mr. Wells accuses the university and its president, the Rev. Michael Graham, of sex discrimination, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and libel for injury to his reputation, among other claims.

Judge S. Arthur Spiegel of the U.S. District Court in Cincinnati dismissed two of the claims against Father Graham—those alleging sex discrimination and deliberate indifference—but let those claims against the university go forward.

Mr. Wells contends that the university and Father Graham used him as a scapegoat to demonstrate an aggressive response to sexual-assault allegations in the wake of two unrelated investigations of the university by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Xavier’s disciplinary hearing for Mr. Wells came one day after the university announced that it had reached an agreement with federal officials and would create new policies to protect victims of sexual assault and harassment. The following day, officials sent Mr. Wells a letter informing him that he had been found responsible for rape and was expelled.

The university has said that its handling of the case followed standard procedures for American universities. In a statement issued on Wednesday, the university said it was pleased that the court had dismissed some of the lawsuit’s claims and believes that Xavier will be vindicated once all the facts are known.