A Charleston, SC college student just settled with the city for $85,000 after he was falsely accused of sexual assault.
In March 2014, the student, who is not being named, was arrested after a woman claimed he raped her after a date. WCSC reports she originally told her friends the sex was consensual, but changed her story after a discussion with her roommate.
“Court documents state the woman told friends about her date and consensual sex and only went to the police after being ‘guilted’ by her roommate. The suit claimed the investigator had evidence contradicting the woman’s statement and also lacked sufficient evidence to back up the claim,” WCSC reported.
Despite this, police arrested the man, who later sued, claiming police didn’t thoroughly investigate the woman’s claims before arresting him.
The College of Charleston student faced up to 10 years in prison. After a four-day trial in November 2017, WCSC reported, the man was found not guilty. He then sued the city, using testimony from one of the investigating detectives given during his criminal trial.
“For almost four years he had the charge and a possible ten year prison sentence hanging over him. During the criminal trial in November 2017, the detective testified under oath about the scope of her investigation and that testimony was used against her in the civil trial to prove negligence in investigating the case,” WCSC reported.
This is one of the latest settlements for falsely accused students. Most of the settlements have been between students and their former colleges, who rush to punish the accused without providing them basic due process rights or the presumption of innocence, so it’s interesting to see a city be held accountable.
For example, last December, the University of Cincinnati paid a student $47,000 in attorneys’ fees and ended his suspension after he sued, claiming his due process rights were violated and the school was biased against him because he is a man. Also in December, Rider University settled with an expelled student for an undisclosed amount.
Just recently, the University of Findlay in Ohio agreed to settle with two male students who were expelled within two days of a woman making an accusation. Multiple friends of the accuser claimed she had bragged about her encounter with the two men before accusing them of sexual assault.
The list of settlements between colleges and accused student goes on and on, and though I’ve covered many of them, I’ve missed quite a few. It isn’t often that government officials are held accountable for rushing to judgement and denying an accused male’s due process rights.
Due process and the presumption of innocence have been under attack in the U.S., especially with the recent rise of the #MeToo movement, where any questioning of an accuser is deemed harmful and an impediment to justice.