Federal Judge Gives the Green Light for First Title IX Sexual Misconduct Case to Proceed to Trial

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DES MOINES, Iowa— A male student referred to as “John Doe” claims Grinnell College violated Title IX.

The federal law bans colleges from discriminating based on sex. Doe’s attorneys say a lawsuit like this is a first in the country.

Doe filed the 42-page lawsuit after the school expelled him over claims of sexual misconduct.

“He is coping. It’s not easy, it’s challenging,” Attorney David Goldman said.

The misconduct claims stem from an encounter with a female student in July 2015. The alleged victim, referred to as “Jane Roe”, reported it to the college in February of 2016.

“They were both naked consensual,” Goldman said.

Doe’s attorney says the college decided to launch an investigation, despite Roe’s refusal to file a formal complaint.

The investigation ended with Doe’s expulsion.

“The school promises their students that in matters of discipline they will be treated in a way that’s fundamentally fair,” Goldman said.

Now, three years later, Doe and his attorneys say he was not given a chance to defend himself, some of the evidence was ignored, and he was discriminated because he is a man.

“Could conclude that gender bias played a role in an erroneous decision being made and that is a violation of Title IX,” Goldman said.

The college released a statement saying:

“All this decision means is that two claims may proceed to trial. Three others were dismissed and will not. There is no finding that the college violated Title IX.  And we look forward to sharing our robust processes that uphold the rights of all our students at trail. I hope you understand that since there is a pending trial, the college cannot comment further.”

The trial is scheduled to begin in September.


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