DES MOINES, Iowa — A former Drake University Board of Trustee of 23 years, Tom Rossley believes Drake University blatantly violated Title IX rules. “Drake became my family. So when Drake did this to my son and me, it literally ripped my family away from me.”
In October of 2015 a female student claimed she was sexually assaulted by Rossley`s son after a night of drinking. “There was zero physical evidence that there was ever an assault on this woman. All they had was her word.”
A school disciplinary board supported the woman’s claims and expelled him in April of 2016 despite Jane Doe declining a forensic sexual exam the day after the encounter to prove an assault occurred. Speaking of his son, Rossley said, “He will never be able to go to another college because no college will take a kid who has that mark on his record.”
Rossley says his son suffers from anxiety and ADHD, takes medication and receives help in the classroom for his disability. He claims he was not given disability accommodations during the nine hour long disciplinary hearing. “He had to be his own attorney for nine hours without accommodations for his language based learning disabilities. That’s like throwing a kid with no arms in a swimming pool,” said Rossley.
The two lawsuits filed separately by Rossley and his son say the female admitted on the record to attempting oral sex without his consent. Rossley said, “She goes on to say, if you can believe this, that ‘I was just giving him what I thought he wanted.”
According to the lawsuit she stopped performing oral sex because Rossley`s son could not maintain an erection. Drake decided to not investigate the claims of Rossley’s son being assaulted by the female. “These lawsuits are about Drake breaking the law time and time again and unfortunately my son got expelled for it.”
After his son’s expulsion from Drake University, just one month before graduation, Rossley wanted answers from administration officials. The Board of Trustees told him the matter was over. “If you want to stay a Trustee you need to keep your mouth shut and disassociate yourself from your son`s problem,” Rossley said he was told.
Rossley was voted off the Board of Trustees three months later in July. He said, “Drake just believed everything she said and Drake was trying to railroad my son.”
The Jane Doe described is not named as a defendant in either lawsuit. The family is seeking damages against Drake University, including President Earl Martin and the Board of Trustees.
Drake University issued the following statement on the case:
“Drake University takes seriously its commitment to provide a safe and productive educational environment for all of its students. This case is no exception. After an initial review of the complaint filed by former trustee Tom Rossley, Sr., the University disagrees with the plaintiff’s depictions of the alleged actions of the parties involved. There are clear differences of opinion about how this situation evolved, and we look forward to presenting a vigorous defense in court. In recognition of the University’s obligations under federal law and out of respect for the privacy of those individuals involved, no further comment will be offered.”