Ex-U of Chicago student lawsuit: School discriminated, denied him chance to defend vs 'false' rape claims

By Dan Churney | Dec 21, 2018

University of Chicago   Ndshankar [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

A male former University of Chicago student is suing the school and a female student, saying his life was “shattered” a few days before he was to graduate last June, when the school, in an alleged act of gender discrimination, expelled him, over a rape accusation he says is false.

A 22-year-old Florida man, anonymously identified as “John Doe” in court papers, has lodged a multi-count suit against the school and a female student, anonymously named “Jane Roe,” who is from North Carolina, is enrolled at the University of Chicago and lives in Chicago.

Plaintiff alleged he suffered sexual discrimination, breach of contract, emotional distress, violation of his due process rights, defamation and being put under a false light.

Plaintiff said the university kicked him out despite “overwhelming evidence” Roe, who was a former girlfriend, made up a story he assaulted her more than once, because she was too embarrassed to admit to friends she was in a secret, consensual sexual relationship with plaintiff. The school acted as it did only because plaintiff is male, plaintiff charged.   

According to plaintiff, he was to graduate with honors June 9, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy, specializing in finance. He had a job lined up with a global supply chain consulting firm. He said all this was dashed with his expulsion. 

Plaintiff said he and Roe started a romantic relationship in October 2017, with frequent sexual activity and expressions of love to one another. During a winter break vacation, which plaintiff said he took with Roe and her family to Costa Rica, their relationship allegedly turned rancorous and they split, according to plaintiff.

Roe allegedly told friends she was done with plaintiff, but a few weeks later back on campus, they allegedly reconciled and resumed sexual relations, according to plaintiff.

Plaintiff and Roe were together March 9 in his apartment, during which Roe posted Snapchat videos from the apartment, plaintiff said. To conceal from her friends, who saw the videos, she had voluntarily been with plaintiff, Roe started telling people she was drunk and didn’t know how she got to plaintiff’s apartment or what happened there. She claimed her only memory was of plaintiff telling her at one point she couldn’t leave, because he had not yet had sex with her, according to plaintiff.

Roe’s alleged campaign against the plaintiff culminated April 5, when Roe lodged a complaint with the school, claiming Doe physically and sexually abused her March 9, as well as on other preceding occasions, the suit said.

The school conducted what Doe characterized as a sham investigation, in which officials allegedly ignored statements and text messages made by Roe to friends that showed her involvement with plaintiff had always been consensual and indicated her motive for making up the assault story, plaintiff alleged.

As an example, plaintiff submitted messages he said were from Roe to a friend in which she admitted she had “hooked up” again with plaintiff, “but like we can’t tell anyone” because “we both said shit to our friends and they’d be pissed if they knew we went back to each other in 

any capacity.”

In other messages, Roe allegedly wrote of using plaintiff for sex and free dinners, according to suit papers.

“UC disregarded this and all other exculpatory evidence supporting Plaintiff’s vehement denials of wrongful conduct and accepted Jane Roe’s unsupported accusations for no reason other than the fact that Plaintiff is male and Jane Roe is female. 

“John Doe’s life has been shattered. He lost the college degree and job he earned. His future economic opportunities have been crippled. His reputation has been destroyed, having been brandished (sic) a rapist. And, he suffers from extreme depression, anxiety, emotional distress and suicidal ideation from the stress and humiliation inflicted on him,” the suit alleged.

Plaintiff claimed the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Illinois coerced the university to deprive male students of due process, by making the school follow a certain protocol in handling sexual complaints, which make it hard for male students to defend themselves. If the University of Chicago does not abide by the governmental rules, the school will lose millions of dollars in funding, plaintiff said.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall is presiding over the case.

John Doe is represented by the Chicago firm of Crotty & Schiltz.

The University of Chicago is defended by the Chicago firm of Husch Blackwell LLP.

No lawyer is representing Jane Roe, according to the court record.

Another male student sued the university and a female student in 2016 on similar grounds. The case ended earlier this year with settlements.

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Organizations in this Story

Crotty & Schiltz LLC Husch Blackwell LLP The University of Chicago U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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