MSU student suspended for alleged rape sues university
An MSU student who was suspended for allegedly raping another student inside his dorm room is suing the school.
The lawsuit was filed Dec. 20 in U.S Federal Court.
The man, an MSU sophomore and fraternity member, claims he was falsely accused and unfairly treated and punished during the Title IX investigation.
The alleged assault happened in the early morning hours of Feb. 24 inside the man's dorm room following a fraternity party. The alleged victim was a freshman at the time.
In the lawsuit, the man claims the two left the party together and had consensual sexual relations in his room. But the lawsuit states that afterward, the woman appeared uncomfortable and quickly left.
After the alleged assault, the woman had a rape kit taken at the hospital.On Feb. 28, she filed a complaint with MSU's Office of Institutional Equity.
MSU retained an outside law firm to investigate the allegations.
Lawyers for the man say the investigation was flawed for several reasons, including:
• One of the lead investigators has a background as a sex crime prosecutor and he approached the case from a prosecutorial stance rather than as a neutral fact-finder.
• Investigators did not give the man adequate notice and details about the case, indicating the investigation was tainted by the outset by gender bias and a presumption of his guilt.
• The man was not offered a live hearing or an opportunity to cross-examine the alleged victim or witnesses.
• Investigators did not properly vet the woman's witnesses.
• With no witnesses to the actual alleged assault itself, the resolution was just a "credibility contest" between the man and the woman.
• The man lost that contest due to "gender bias on the part of the investigator and intense pressure at Michigan State to convict the males accused of sexual assault."
The lawsuit also claims that investigators ignored inconsistencies and physical impossibilities in the woman's story.
The final investigative report was issued on May 23.
The Office of Institutional Equity found the man did violate MSU's Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy. The woman submitted a victim-impact statement and asked for a suspension of two years or longer.
According to the lawsuit, MSU "rubber-stamped" the woman's desired punishment and suspended him for two years. He was also ordered not to contact the woman and will be banned from joining a fraternity or attending Greek events if he is allowed to return.
The man filed an appeal on June 30. It was denied on July 31.
Since being suspended, the complaint states, the man has been labeled a rapist and says the suspension makes it difficult for him to transfer to another university. He has instead been attending a community college. The man also claims his suspension limits his ability to get a job, pursue graduate school, and has made him feel depressed and socially isolated.
There was no criminal investigation. News 10 reached out to MSU for comment on the lawsuit, and the university did not immediately respond.