Saint Joseph’s University Sued for Bias by Student Falsey Accused of Rape
Saint Joseph’s University, a private Catholic school in Philadelphia, was sued by a student (suspended for being falsely accused of rape) over claims its sexual-assault policies virtually ensure that accused males will be found guilty.
The student, Brian Harris of Clifton Park, New York, is seeking more than $75,000 in damages in the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Philadelphia accusing the school of negligence, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of Title IX, the law that bars sex discrimination at schools.
“SJU, in the manner in which it approaches the investigation, adjudication, and appeal of allegations of sexual misconduct and related claims made in connection to sexual misconduct, creates an environment in which a male accused is so fundamentally denied due process as to be virtually assured of a finding of guilt,” Kenneth Dubrow, an attorney for Harris, said in the complaint.
Title IX, known for guaranteeing women equal access to sports programs, bars all forms of sex discrimination on campus. Colleges across the country, under pressure for using antiquated procedures to prevent and investigate rapes and other campus sexual assaults, have been hit with federal complaints in recent months for violating Title IX or the Clery Act, which requires universities to report violent acts on campuses.
Saint Joseph’s allegedly conducted a cursory, superficial and biased investigation of allegations against Harris and failed to give him an opportunity to confront his accuser before suspending him for a year in January, according to the complaint.
Harris had consensual sex with a member of the Saint Joseph’s girls’ soccer team in November during his freshman year. Texts between the two led to a late-night tryst at the girl’s dormitory on campus, where he spent the night. The next day, Harris said, he was informed by a dorm manager that there would be an investigation into the girl’s claim of sexual misconduct, according to the filing.
Harris explained what occurred in an initial meeting with a campus investigator two days later, providing the text messages corroborating his version of the events, according to the complaint. The investigator was abusive, “unnecessarily comparing Harris to Jerry Sandusky,” the former Pennsylvania State University assistant football coach convicted last year of abusing boys, according to the filing.
Saint Joseph’s, in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia, requires that allegations of sexual offenses are reported to the Office of Public Safety and Security, which is then required to conduct an investigation and prepare a report for the Student Life Administrator.
Complaints of sexual offenses are resolved by an administrative hearing officer or by the Community Standards Board, a 17-person panel consisting of seven students, five faculty members and five administrators, according to the complaint. The
accused isn’t permitted to be accompanied by parents, counsel, or by any person other than a Community Standards adviser during the hearing.
accused is notified in writing after the standards board reaches a decision and the result may be disclosed to others including the Saint Joseph’s community, according to the complaint.
Harris was found guilty after a Dec. 4 hearing and suspended from the university. He was denied the opportunity to confront his
accuser despite evidence contradicting the “baseless accusations,” his lawyers said.
In January, an appeals board found the text messages critical to the investigation and remanded the matter to the standards board, which later upheld its earlier finding of guilt, according to the complaint. At no time did the university contact police or other governmental authorities about the incident, Harris said in the filing.
A “biased and one-sided” investigation process at Saint Joseph’s deprives male students of educational opportunities on the basis of gender, Harris’s attorney said in the complaint.
Harris has suffered from having an improper conviction on his school record, marring his ability to enroll in another college and stigmatizing him with a finding of guilt.
The university’s handling of the matter was intended not only to “deprive Harris of his good name and bring him into scandal and disrepute amongst his neighbors and peers, but also to limit Harris’s future education and employment prospects,” Dubrow said in the filing.
It may be difficult for Harris and his attorney to establish that the investigation was discriminatory, said man-hating cunt Susan Stuart, the Valparaiso professor.
“I don’t see any factual allegations that males as a general rule are being picked on,” she said. “The process seems to be gender bias-free.”
Just like her tiny brain is intelligence-free.