CHICAGO (CN) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed sex-discrimination claims against Columbia College Chicago filed by a former male student suspended for a rape accusation.
John Doe claimed in his January lawsuit that the school didn’t give him a fair shot at defending himself because of an anti-male bias in violation of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act, which bars sex discrimination in federally funded programs.
Doe says that CCC had a pattern of “disciplining male students who accept physical contact initiated by female students,” such as himself.
According to his side of the story, a female student referred to in the lawsuit as Jane Roe became intoxicated after a dorm room gathering and initiated sexual contact with Doe, but he declined.
Roe got angry, Doe says, and her and her friends began spreading rumors across campus and on social media that he raped her, and reported it to CCC.
According to Doe, witnesses and a polygraph test proved he was telling the truth. But the college still rejected his appeal of its investigation and suspended him for the 2016-17 school year.
U.S. District Judge Amy J. St. Eve found Wednesday that CCC’s response to Doe was based on the accusations against him personally, not because of a bias towards men in general.
“Just because the underlying conduct was ‘sexual in nature’ [does] not mean that the plaintiff’s treatment implicated gender discrimination,” her 40-page ruling states.
Even if any bias exists within the school, the judge concluded, it is on behalf of victims of sexual assault complainants regardless of their gender.
Judge St. Eve added that “many of Doe’s allegations purporting to create an inference of a gender bias have a legitimate basis in complying with the Department of Education’s instructions and ensuring that CCC protects victims of sexual assault.”
Although the judge admitted that Doe did show that the facts used against him were dubious, he still “has not sufficiently alleged particular circumstances suggesting that gender bias was a motivating factor behind the erroneous finding.”
St. Eve ruled that Doe has until Nov. 15 to file an amended complaint.
Doe has also sued Roe for defamation, and the claims against her still stand.
Doe’s attorney, Eric J. Rosenberg of Rosenberg & Ball Co., said he has no comment on the dismissal yet.
Roe filed a counterclaim against Doe in June, alleging assault, of which Rosenberg says “we intend on establishing our client’s innocence.”
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