A male student in Maine who had been accused of sexual assault is now claiming that he was the real victim. He's filing a Title IX lawsuit against the school for not taking his defense seriously – a lawsuit that, like most other Title IX claims, is going to rely almost on his credibility versus his alleged victims'.
Male Student Accused of Coercing Women Into Sex
Several women at the University of Maine at Farmington claimed that they were raped by a male student, reporting their experiences to the school's Title IX office. The student was already under disciplinary action from an earlier allegation of sexual assault, for which he was found responsible for harassment and stalking.
According to the women, the male student coerced them into having sex by threatening to commit suicide if they refused. They also say that he physically assaulted them and often threatened to tell others that they had raped him.
Several of the women also reported their experiences to the police, but the prosecutor refused to file charges.
The male student has been put on an interim suspension, pending the outcome of the Title IX cases against him.
Man Says He's the Victim of Sexual Assault
In response, the male student filed a Title IX lawsuit against the college, claiming that he was the victim of sexual assault and that the school committed sexual discrimination against him for ignoring this line of defense. As a result, he has suffered emotional distress from being suspended from school.
Credibility and the Importance of Airtight Investigation Procedures
As is par for the course in Title IX claims, this case will come down to a “he said, she said” situation. The big difference is that there are several women on one side and only one man on the other.
However, that difference might not be as significant as it seems, if the Title IX investigation procedures that the University of Maine at Farmington used were flawed.
When multiple people are accusing someone of misconduct, it is critically important for investigators to separate the accusers, both during and after questioning. By questioning each person individually, it keeps them from adopting their story to fit another narrative. By keeping them from interacting with each other – often by simply refusing to divulge the identity of other accusers – an investigator can keep the alleged victims from meeting and strategizing to make their complaints come across more forceful, cohesive, and convincing.
The problem, of course, is that Title IX investigators are notoriously bad at keeping their investigations airtight like this. In fact, the recent emphasis on supporting alleged victims has pushed some Title IX investigators towards thinking that complainants should be brought together so they can support each other.
Title IX Defense with Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer and a national Title IX advisor. He knows to look closely at how Title IX investigators question complainants. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686 for the defense you need.