HARTFORD (CN) — A former Yale University basketball captain sued the school Thursday, claiming his “promising future crumbled into dust” when it expelled him for having “nonconsensual sex” with another student — though the school, not the woman, filed the complaint.
Jack Montague sued Yale and its top two Title IX officers, Angela Gleason and Jason Killheffer, in Federal Court. The woman, Jane Roe, is not a party to the lawsuit.
Montague does not deny that he had sex with Jane Roe.
He says in the complaint that “a year after the fact, the female student – who was affirmatively misled by the defendants into participating in a formal complaint process initiated by Yale and not by the student herself – claimed that just part of her encounter with Montague (the intercourse) was nonconsensual.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Shortly after they had sex, Montague says, Jane Roe called him, came back to his room, and spent the rest of the night in bed with him.
Nonetheless, “In the months that followed, Montague found himself thrust into the confusing, terrifying, and lonely process through which those accused of sexual misconduct are maneuvered, and into the midst of Yale’s ongoing battle to establish itself as an institution that takes accusations of sexual misconduct seriously,” he says in the lawsuit.
Montague claims that Yale singled him out because it was being criticized for not taking sexual assault accusations seriously enough, after an Office of Civil Rights investigation, and an Association of American Universities survey that found Yale had the third-highest rate of sexual assault among 27 colleges.
“As a consequence, the University had to show it was willing to take a hard line against male students accused of sexual assault in order to dispel the notion that Yale’s campus was an unfriendly and unsafe environment for women,” the complaint states.
Montague was expelled on Feb. 10 this year, in his final term before his expected spring graduation.
“Unfortunately for Montague, he was a prime candidate to serve as Yale’s poster boy for tough enforcement of its Sexual Misconduct Policies: popular, well-liked and respected amongst his peers at Yale, and known throughout the country as one of Yale’s most promising men’s basketball stars. In short, imposing harsh discipline on Montague would surely make an impact,” he says in the complaint.
Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said the allegations in the lawsuit are “factually inaccurate and legally baseless, and Yale will offer a vigorous defense.”
Conroy said Montague was expelled after investigation of a formal complaint brought to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct.
“Yale’s procedures for addressing allegations of sexual misconduct are thorough and fair,” Conroy said.
Such allegations are investigated by an impartial fact-finder, heard by five trained members of the Yale community, and decided by the dean of the school in which the accused student is enrolled, according Yale policy.
One out of five formal sexual misconduct hearings at Yale has ended without a finding against the accused, and in two out of five cases, the accused student has received a reprimand or probation, according to the university.
Only about one out of 10 cases has ended in expulsion. Conroy said the decision to expel a student is made only after careful consideration, based on facts, and when appropriate, on disciplinary history.
But according to Montague’s 53-page complaint, his expulsion was the result of a “deeply flawed process,” in which one of the deputy Title XI coordinators told Jane Roe that Montague had been the subject of a previous complaint. Montague’s lawsuit says that complaint did not involve sex. He says he got drunk during his freshman year, was annoyed by a fellow student and rolled up a paper plate and shoved it down her shirt, for which he was disciplined.
According to the lawsuit, Roe told Montague that she didn’t want to have intercourse on Oct. 18, 2014, but was interested in hooking up.
Montague says he got on top of Roe to engage in sexual intercourse. “Roe said that at that point she ‘put her hands up, pressed them against the front of Mr. Montague’s shoulders and pushed him, but not very forcefully,” according to the complaint.
Roe returned to Montague’s that night, but they did not have intercourse again, the complaint states.
“The panel’s findings make clear that whatever Roe might have said to Montague about the limited of her consent prior to willingly accompanying him to his bedroom, and whatever she might have communicated about not wanting to ‘have sex,’ once she got to Montague’s bedroom she clearly changed her mind,” according to the complaint.
Nor was this the first time they’d had sex, Montague says. He says they had sexual intercourse on Sept. 24, 2014, less than a month before the incident in question.
Montague seeks reinstatement to Yale, expungement of his record and punitive damages for defamation, breach of contract, tortious interference with contract, privacy invasion and other violations.
He is represented by William Dow III with Jacobs and Dow in New Haven.
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