College, Sex, Rape, and Injustice

 

everclear2 300x225 College, Sex, Rape, and InjusticeUpdate (August 22, 2014): The lawsuit of Doe v. Colleges of St. Benedict and St. John’s University started with splashy drama early this month (emergency motions, dramatic allegations) and ended in sealed silence this week. Good for everyone, I think, that the lawsuit was short-lived (except, the cynic adds, for the trial lawyers and their law firms). Let us hope that the involved institutions and individuals can learn and quickly heal from the underlying incidents and the lawsuit’s resolution (and that the trial lawyers soon find some other massive debacle to resolve with professionalism and ruthless efficiency).

Update (August 12, 2014): What is the difference between a blog and a publication? I recently heard one internet pundit say that the only distinction is that a blog is unedited. I think that is an interesting distinction.

Another related point is that publications often employ people with formal training in journalism, who are aware of and who abide by journalism ethics. (Blogs (this one, anyway) do not.)

I received a request to remove links to court filings in the CSBSJU case, discussed below, that have now been placed under seal. I do not have the time nor the training nor the editorial board to discuss the ramifications of the request and how to best to respond to it. So I have decided to accommodate the request and, if anyone feels I have made the wrong decision (or the right decision?), leave a comment.

Original post (August 6, 2014)A fairly recent New York Times piece recounted the terrible story of a young woman whose allegations of rape at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York appear to have been handled poorly by the schools.

More recently and closer by, an accused perpetrator from College of St. John’s recounted a terrible story of false allegations of rape (according to the accused) at the Colleges of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in rural Minnesota. [Link to Complaint removed as Court has ordered filings under seal.]

What do these two stories share in common? Drunkenness, terrible trauma, harm regardless of who is telling the truth, and some evidence that some colleges are idiots when it comes to due process.

There is no bright side to these horrible situations. The challenges for all involved are immense. Maybe most tragic of all is that we all know that there are many many more real sexual assaults that go unreported for every one (or every false one) that is reported.

I commend plaintiff’s counsel in the Doe v. College of St. Benedict for a well-written complaint [link removed]. What actually happened, what should have happened, and who, if anyone, owes money to someone else for what happened remains to be seen, of course. But the complaint is thorough without being verbose, over-the-top, or strident. It is persuasive and appears to be backed up with supporting evidence (texts, a recording, and so on).

Late yesterday, plaintiff moved for an expedited preliminary injunction to try to get re-enrolled in school before the start of the school year. [link removed]

The case is before Chief Judge Michael J. Davis, U.S. District Court (D. Minn.) and U.S. Mag. Judge Hildy Bowbeer.

It will be interesting to see where this case leads…

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