Education

Judge halts suspension of Duke soccer player accused of date rape

Posted February 1

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— A judge has granted a reprieve to a Duke University soccer player fighting to remain in school amid a sexual assault allegation.

Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson on Tuesday issued a temporary restraining order against the university, which last Friday suspended the student after determining that he had violated the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Another court hearing in the case is set for next week.

The unidentified soccer player filed a lawsuit against Duke and Associate Dean of Students Stephen Bryan, who heads the Office of Student Conduct, alleging breach of contract, violation of his due process rights and negligence. The player filed the suit as "John Doe" to protect his privacy and that of the female student he is accused of assaulting.

The case began with a Nov. 14, 2015, encounter between the two students, who met and danced at a Durham nightclub before going back to their dorm for sex, which he claims was consensual. Several months later, the suit says, she filed a complaint with OSC, alleging that she hadn't consented to sex.

During a first hearing last July, a disciplinary panel wasn't convinced the female student had verbally denied consent, but the panel found that her actions didn't constitute consent, according to the lawsuit. The soccer player appealed the second part of the ruling, arguing that it wasn't supported by evidence.

An appeals board determined the disciplinary panel didn't view the female students nonverbal actions under the standard of a "reasonable person," as called for in Duke's policy, so the board sent the case back to the panel to correct the error, according to the lawsuit. Instead, Bryan set up a new panel to hear the whole case again in November. That second panel determined that the female student had verbally denied consent and that her actions didn't constitute consent.

The soccer player argues in the suit that Bryan violated Duke policy by setting up the second panel after the player had been partially cleared of wrongdoing by the first one.

After the November ruling, Duke suspended him for six semesters, effective Jan. 27, which he said in the lawsuit would result in the loss of his student visa – he is from the U.K. – and financial losses for his family, as well as dealing a blow to his goal of playing soccer professionally.

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  • Forest Hazel Feb 1, 8:15 p.m.
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    This will end up going quietly away, with Duke paying out a few hundred thousand to the soccer player. You'll never hear the final result except maybe on page 17 of the Herald below the fold and sandwiched between a couple used car ads....

  • George Orwell Feb 1, 3:32 p.m.
    user avatar

    "Several months later, the suit says, she filed a complaint with OSC, alleging that she hadn't consented to sex."

    Bull. If it wasn't consented to, she would have filed a complain immediately, not months later. Law enforcement would laugh at her as there is no way the DA would even consider the case.

    Universities have no business policing sexual assaults. That what the police and courts are for. And this is a "great" law school?