Thursday, December 22, 2011

Brown University suit settled

The lawsuit filed by William McCormick III and his parents against Brown University, Marcella Dresdale (the student who accused McCormick of raping her), and Richard Dresdale (the accuser's father), has been settled on undisclosed terms.

“The McCormicks and the Dresdales have resolved all of the disputes between them which are the subject of the lawsuit to their mutual satisfaction,” J. Scott Kilpatrick, a lawyer for the McCormicks, said in a statement over the telephone. “The McCormicks and the Dresdales have agreed to not make any further statements or comments on the matter.”  Apparently, the University was not part of the settlement.

The lawsuit claimed that the university falsely accused William McCormick of sexual assault and that the Dresdales libeled him and caused him to be expelled from the college. The McCormicks claim that Richard Dresdale is “an alumnus of Brown and has raised very substantial sums of money for Brown.”

Mr. McCormick has every right to settle his case on whatever terms he deems appropriate. His suit sought redress for a harm to him, not a harm to the community at large. Still, the community of the wrongly accused is disappointed that Brown University -- which uses a standard of proof that's even lower than "preponderance of the evidence" for sex cases, and that is famous in these parts for suspending Adam Lack on the flimsiest of evidence -- is not being called to answer for its alleged wrongdoing.

Libertarian media gadfly John Stossel left an indelible impression of Brown in a book he wrote. Stossel described how he went to Brown some years ago to cover the Adam Lack case for 20/20. What awaited Stossel surprised even him -- he discovered that debate on the issue was not welcomed. At a rally against Mr. Lack, Mr. Stossel sought to question to protest leaders about their definition of "rape." Stossel described the scene in words that are a stinging indictment on the intoleance of activists who have politicized rape: "I've covered race riots in Portland, a birth-control riot in Mexico City, yet these privileged students at an Ivy League university were louder, and more intense." They shouted Stossel down, began chanting at him, and made it clear that there was only one side to the issue--theirs. In their world, Stossel explained, "any challenge to their thinking must automatically be hate-filled and sexist (or racist, classist, or homophobic)." J. Stossel, How I Exposed Hucksters, Cheats, and Scam Artists and Became the Scourge of the Liberal Media at 275-77.