The mother of an accused student, who reached a settlement agreement with the school after two years:
First of all, I would like to tell you a little about my son so you can picture him in your mind. He’s super smart, kind, conscientious, honest, and humble. In high school, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Throughout the years he played a variety of sports and always enjoyed being part of a team.
He was awarded the honor of National Merit Finalist and as such had his pick of many wonderful colleges and universities with scholarships attached. Because he had dealt with episodes of mild depression, we all decided it would be best for him to pick a place in California. While in college, he got involved in a variety of activities. During his junior year he was awarded a stipend to take part in a summer research project related to his major.
In the spring semester of his junior year my son was found to be responsible for rape. He was expelled. As a result, he lost his school merit scholarship, his National Merit Scholarship, the summer research grant, his job, the work he had put into that semester. His world was ripped out from underneath him.
During the previous winter he had started dating a girl we’ll call Eve. Their romance continued at a healthy pace throughout the winter. When she returned home for the winter break, they talked on the phone and sent each other lots of text messages. In scores of communication to my son she expressed to him how grateful she was for his love and kindness toward her.
In Feb., Eve decided she wanted to break up. My son admitted to us at the time that although he was sad not to have her companionship, he was relieved because the relationship had become a bit strained. She cried at the time of the breakup and was very upset. She revealed to one of her roommates that she thought of suicide. The roommate reported this to the RA who took a report that was forwarded to the appropriate campus office. Eve received assistance immediately from the Coordinator of that office. The Coordinator helped Eve write a complaint indicating that she was bothered by the memory of her first sexual encounter with my son. On that night, they had engaged in sexual activity but not intercourse. After that night, and throughout their relationship, they engaged in sexual intercourse. She told him scores of times in writing and on the phone how much she loved him and that he was the most kind, and most gentle person she had ever met.
After my son received a notice of the complaint we knew we needed to hire a lawyer. The lawyer we hired had actually worked on a previous case at the same college. In that case the student decided to withdraw and not face the tribunal. The lawyer helped us put together a response that included all of the texts as well as transcript of the phone messages my son had saved. During the hearing, the panel was advised to ignore my son’s evidence.
During the hearing, my son told the panel that he remembered asking Eve for permission. She said yes to every step. She never said no. He was asked if he remembered asking if he could take her belt off. He said that he could not remember that specifically. As a result of that, he was charged with rape and expelled.
A month or so later, my son’s appeal was rejected. At that time, we hired a new law firm. After almost 2 years of negotiations and over $150,000.00 on our part we reached an agreement with the college. Examination of his file would not reveal the case. It would reveal that he had withdrawn.
As you can imagine, the claim against him coupled with the lack of due process almost sent my son overt the deep end. He dealt with feelings of shame and hopelessness. Weekly therapy sessions helped him cope through all of it. To this day, he does not feel comfortable discussing what happened.