Two White Women Allegedly Propositioned Three Black Football Players For Sex, Then Accused Them Of Sexual Assault. The School Just Settled With One Player.

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One aspect that is often overlooked in matters of campus sexual assault is the prevalence of white women accusing black men. As America battles with allegations of systemic racism, somehow these campus cases are ignored, even though the men involved receive almost no due process to defend themselves.

A recent example of this comes from Purdue University, which recently settled with a black football player who had been accused of sexual assault and denied an opportunity to defend himself. The student will be referred to as John.

John filed a lawsuit against Purdue in early 2019, two years after he was expelled from the university after an adjudication process that he says didn’t even follow the school’s outlined policies. Further, John argued racial and gender bias played a role in his expulsion.

The allegations stem from an encounter that began the evening of October 13, 2016. John and two of his football teammates were hanging out at an off-campus house watching television. John, in his lawsuit, said he considered the two other football players friends even though he didn’t know that much about them and had only known them for two months.

Three white women, who will be referred to as Jane, Rachel, and Diana, joined the three football players later that evening. The three women were friends with John’s teammates. John says he did not know any of the three women prior to that night.

As the six individuals began discussing their plans for the evening, John alleges the women said they were looking to drink alcohol that night. Jane and Rachel, John alleges in his lawsuit, “informed the gathering that they were interested in having sexual intercourse with one or more of the male individuals present.” The women specifically mentioned interest in a “threesome” or intercourse with multiple partners. John alleges that Jane and Rachel were “extremely forward with their comments regarding sexual intercourse,” openly declaring their interest.

The three women eventually left the house to attend a party elsewhere. The three football players stayed behind. Jane and Rachel would later say they drank wine and liqueur at the party. The two women sent text messages to John’s friends continuing to say they wanted to have sex with them, mentioning the word “threesome.” Jane “specifically requested permission to return to the off campus house to engage in sexual activity with multiple partners,” John says in his lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that a witness saw Jane “making sexual advances” on someone at the party before she and her friends returned to the house where John and his friends were watching television.

Shortly after the three women returned to the off-campus house, Diana left, leaving Jane and Rachel with the three football players. John’s lawsuit alleges that after Diana left, Jane sat on one of the football player’s laps and again stated her intent for a threesome. Jane, according to John’s lawsuit, made this statement in front of all five students who were present. Later, after the sexual assault allegations were made, all remaining witnesses stated that Jane made such a comment and Jane did not deny it, according to John’s lawsuit.

One of John’s friends and the two women then entered one of the bedrooms at the house while John and his other friend kept watching television. At some point, the football player who had entered the bedroom with the women returned and told John that Jane wanted to have sex with him. John entered the bedroom to find Jane and Rachel sitting on the bed. Jane, according to the lawsuit, “immediately” approached John and said, “come here,” before pulling down his shorts and underwear. She began performing oral sex on John, according to his lawsuit.

During this time, Rachel and one of John’s friends engaged in sexual activity. The two women, according to the lawsuit, made comments that they were enjoying themselves and that “this is the best thing we’ve ever done.”

After John ejaculated from the oral sex, he says, Jane took off her pants and underwear and told him to have sex with her. John wrote in his lawsuit that he “had become uneasy and did not wish to further engage in any sexual contact” with either of the women, so he left the room to clean himself and return to the main room to watch television. After he left, he alleges, the two women had sexual intercourse with his friend.

John’s other friend eventually entered the bedroom to engage in some kind of sexual activity with the women. John says he did not return to the bedroom.

At some point, everyone returned to the main room and talked about the events of that evening, with the women allegedly claiming it was a “sorority goal” and again saying it was “the best thing we have ever done.” At that time, John alleges, neither woman expressed any concern about the group sex.

The next day, however, on October 14, 2016, both women contacted the West Lafayette Police Department to claim they had been sexually assaulted. During her interview, according to John’s lawsuit, Jane told a detective that she was not intoxicated and was capable of giving consent. She also stated she consented to sex with men at the house but said she did not consent to all of the sexual contact. She did not elaborate on which sexual contact to which she did not consent. Rachel’s statement to the police was similar, according to the lawsuit.

Jane even stated to police that she had talked about having group sex and voluntarily engaged in it.

John was contacted later that day by the detective to give a statement. He explained what happened and the detective said the women gave similar statements. The detective allegedly told John he had “nothing to worry about.” The detective presented the information he had to the Tippecanoe County Prosecutor’s office, which declined to charge any of the men involved.

Four days later, however, on October 18, 2016, John received a letter from Purdue’s dean of students informing him he had been accused of sexually assaulting Jane. John was informed that he would be immediately suspended from Purdue. John denied the allegations against him and requested an appeal of his interim suspension. On October 26, John met with the dean of students to appeal his suspension, which was granted.

On November 4, John attended a meeting with two investigators for the school who, according to John’s lawsuit, “had no relevant experience in investigating allegations of this nature nor had they received adequate training on the due process rights of the accused.” At both meetings with Purdue officials, John was told he could bring a “support person” but that the person could not speak on his behalf.

The investigators told John they were still investigating and would issue a final investigative report within two weeks. Two weeks later, however, the investigation was granted an extension without explanation. At least two more extensions were granted without explanation. It wasn’t until February 8, 2017, that John was told a hearing would be held the following week. Again, John was told he could bring a “support person” but told that person was forbidden from acting as “legal counsel.” John was also told he could not present any evidence at the hearing.

On February 28, 2017, John was informed he was found responsible for sexual assault. He was told the dean of students found Jane “more credible,” but did not explain why. John alleges in his lawsuit that he was not allowed to present any evidence that would undermine Jane’s credibility. John was expelled but appealed. His appeal, however, could not contain new evidence and had to rely only on the evidence presented in the school’s investigative report, which was so heavily redacted “as to render the document nearly illegible,” John’s lawsuit says. John was also not allowed to review transcripts of interviews or anything else that informed the report.

John’s lawsuit says that he “submitted a written appeal on March 9, 2019 alleging that the evidence in the report did not support the committee’s findings, that his expulsion was grossly disproportionate to the allegations against him, and that the University had failed to follow its own policies and procedures, noting that the Final Determination letter was required to be issued 10 days after the committee hearing, but was in fact issued 13 days after the hearing.”

John’s appeal was denied, with Purdue officials claiming the numerous delays in the adjudication was not prejudicial. The denial also referenced evidence that John had never been able to see, like recording of police interviews.

John was expelled, removed from the football team, and lost his scholarship. John couldn’t even join another football team because Purdue refused to release him.

So, John sued, and on July 17, 2020, Purdue filed a notice of settlement to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. The details of the settlement are not public, but students in similar situations have received monetary payments that range from a few thousand dollars to nearly one million dollars. Most public settlements have resulted in the disciplinary charges being overturned and removed from the student’s record.

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