Judge says Duke can't yet expel senior accused of sexual assault

Posted May 29, 2014

— A Durham County Superior Court judge has ruled that Duke University can't yet expel a senior found guilty of sexual misconduct by the school's honor court.

Lewis McLeod, 23, filed a lawsuit against Duke earlier this year after he was banned from his graduation ceremony because of another student's claim of sexual assault.

According to court documents, McLeod claims he took the woman back to his home on Nov. 14 and had consensual sex with her.

Both Duke University police and Durham police investigated the woman's assault claim but decided not to charge McLeod. Duke's Office of Student Conduct, however, expelled him after a hearing in which it found him guilty.

After a hearing last week, Judge Osmond Smith issued a preliminary injunction against Duke for expelling McLeod after finding that he did not have a fair hearing.

While he ruled that Duke cannot expel McLeod, he did not order the university to award him his degree.

McLeod's attorney, Rachel Hitch, said he views Thursday's injunction as "hopeful news" and that he's encouraged that Smith ordered Duke not to expel him.

"While this is not an ultimate finding on the merits of the case (which can only come at trial), in our opinion, it is an extremely strong indication that Duke has acted improperly, unfairly and illegally," Hitch said.

A psychology major from Australia, McLeod's student visa expired at the end of the semester, and without a job, he can't stay in the United States. He has a job offer from a Wall Street firm, but it is contingent upon his graduation.

If he can't start that job as planned in July, McLeod's lawyers wrote in a complaint, "inability to actually assume employment in this prestigious position is substantially certain to negatively impact him forevermore."


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  • Forthe Newssite May 30, 2014
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    All things Duke do whatever they please. University, hospital, power company.....they are all of the same mindset. Just do it and don't worry

  • Forthe Newssite May 30, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    every hear of a WORK visa? They exist ya know.

  • Jump1 May 30, 2014

    They will just with hold his cert.

  • James Kirby May 30, 2014
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    Let me add that if he did do this then may Karma come back around and bite him hard. But without proof, and there is no proof just he said she said, I don't see how they can ruin his life on speculation. Its extremely irresponsible of Duke

  • James Kirby May 30, 2014
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    The problem is there is no proof of a crime and if he should be expelled then so should she. There is ZERO way to prove anything took place and to allow her friends to testify, friends who lety her go home from a bar with a guy i might add, but would not allow his roommates and the people who saw her when she got to his place to testify is RIDICULOUS! if he violated the code of conduct then so did she since there isn't anyway to prove whose lying

  • James Kirby May 30, 2014
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    Perfectly stated. I watched a video that 2 artist created to show the difference in public places. the man grabbed the woman's arm and screamed and all these people were jumping up to tell him to stop. The woman grabbed the man screamed at him then starting hitting him and everyone just laughed. Equality huh. This is just more proof that when a woman says rape many people consider the guy guilty until proven innocent.

  • jlh4jdj May 30, 2014

    Its not just because he was not charged by the real police. In the articles about this it states that he was not allowed to call witnesses at the honor court. This sounds like once again Duke is jumping to PC assumptions. The only thing different is that we don't have Al Sharpton looking for a photo opt so he can steal...I mean raise money. In today's society to many woman are crying with buyers remorse! This takes away from the true crimes done to woman. Man slaps woman it's a crime. Woman slaps man everyone says man should be glad he has a strong woman!

  • Djofraleigh Anderson May 30, 2014
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    Why can't the case still be handed over to the police? Let the courts handle the crime instead of the policies of the school.

  • raleighboy524 May 30, 2014

    doesn't have to be a crime for the university to expel, so any comparison isn't valid. not saying duke is right.

  • VickLo May 30, 2014