How Campus Kangaroo Courts Are Re-Victimizing Victims and Shortchanging the Accused
If someone is accused of rape, that person is a rapist.
Even if exonerated, the stain is there. Forever. No one will remember the outcome, just the accusation. Students across this nation are facing life-altering charges of felonies with little to no recourse on campus. Much like universities fear NCAA investigations when it comes to student athletes, they fear Title IX and a forfeiture of federal dollars when it comes to campus sexual assault.
“Shut up, you’re guilty, now take your punishment the university has dealt out and like it”– is the stern message to the accused.
This unjust process was initiated in 2011 –when Obama’s Department of Education sent out a Dear Colleague Letter to all colleges, began pressing them to more aggressively police sexual assaults, and threatened to take away Title IX funding from schools that failed to do so.
During that time, Universities across the country radically changed the definition of sexual assault, created Kangaroo Courts on Campus, and substantially scaled back protections for students (a majority men) accused of it, which has ultimately led to job loss, humiliation, expulsion, and even suicide of men in college who were falsely accused and were stripped of their due process rights.
One tragic example is Thomas Klocke, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington who committed suicide on June 2, 2016— just days after learning that he’d been disciplined for allegedly “harassing” a gay student. His family recently filed a lawsuit, laying out claims that — if proven true — should send chills down the spines of parents of male children.
At the University of Central Florida, a student also claimed she was raped. Law enforcement and UCF acted quickly to investigate. The allegations were horrendous, but they weren’t true. Orlando Criminal Defense Attorney Lyle B. Mazin convinced police to drop the rape case against his client, a student at UCF, when he produced an exculpatory video of the alleged rape. However, the UCF Conduct Board charged forward with the accusations and still sought to expel the student in spite of the video tape.
Unfortunately, it’s not just the accused who are getting a raw deal, it’s also the victims. No one is getting true justice under this new radical system. Therefore, the nonprofit organization called Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) has recently launched a campaign to repeal the Dear Colleague Letter, which it says is responsible for“trivializing the severity of rape,” “impairing the credibility of future victims” and “undermining” the presumption of innocence.” The constant push of a fictitious rape culture also minimizes women across the board as nothing but victims or potential future victims.
This Six-Year Experiment in Campus Jurisprudence Fails to Make the Grade and the hope is that the new head of OCR will end the practice. Over 130 lawsuits by students accused of, or expelled for, sexual assault have been filed against colleges and universities. These lawsuits have alleged breach of contract, sex discrimination, due process infringements, and other violations. In addition, numerous persons claiming to be victims of sexual assault have prevailed in complaints and lawsuits alleging Title IX violations. A listing of recent cases and documents can be seen HERE. The totality of lawsuits filed by men and women alleging inadequate and biased college proceedings argues that campus-based adjudication systems are inherently flawed.
PolitiChicks recently interviewed Attorney Michelle Owens – Michelle Owens is an expert in University Title IX cases, and is actively combatting university bias in these matters. She recently published an article in The Daily Caller revealing how the campus zealots are biasing the system and taking away students due process rights.
PC: How do false allegations of sexual assault harm the credibility of future victims?
MO:Whenever you have false allegations made, it undermines the authority of women who really were assaulted and really were victimized. Even people like me, every time I get a new call, I am now assuming that it is a false accusation because that’s all I’ve dealt with is false accusations against young men. It undermines what we, as a society, have worked for for years, which is better treatment of rape victims and taking them seriously.
This is undermining that, and in a period of six years (since the Dear Colleague Letter went out in 2011), we’ve gone back fifty years as far as what we have done as women. And anyone who has been sexually assaulted should be appalled at how this is being handled because this is basically saying that, ‘If you are raped, you really don’t need the guy to go to jail, you just need him to get kicked out of school.”
One thing that is very upsetting is that no one considers the males and their emotional response to this. We look at men between the ages of 18 and 22 and we think they don’t have any feelings, this doesn’t affect them, and they don’t get emotionally upset about things. Most of my clients that are male become suicidal throughout this process to the point where I am calling their parents to fly down to where they are immediately and having somebody to talk to them on the phone until their parents get there because this takes a toll on them emotionally and they have no support on campus because everyone is against them. Everyone on campus looks at them and in their mind thinks they are a rapist. They have no support.
PC: Complaints are being filed months later and treated as FACT before any formal judgment occurs. How is this affecting the accused?
MO: A lot of the cases are being filed months after the alleged incident occurrs. My longest one was filed 18 months later. Most of them are 2 to 3 months later and a good majority of the cases are filed 8 to 10 months after the fact. It’s hard for an accused student to remember what happened when they are going back a long time. Especially when they aren’t told what they are being accused of exactly. They tell you the person checked a box for sexual harassment. So, you don’t know what you are being accused of or when it allegedly happened until after you give all of your statements. So, you don’t really know what you’re defending yourself against and you can inadvertently say something that hurts you worse because you don’t even know what it’s about. It may be case where the sex was consensual and he’s not sure what it’s about.
In fact, a girlfriend that he’s broken up with is the most common occurrence. Or a girl that he’s dated that he’s had sex with and then he started having sex with somebody else. That’s very common.
PC: What is the position of SAVE on the practice of college campuses acting in lieu of the judicial process?
MO:I’m not speaking for SAVE but what I will tell you that SAVE is against the Kangaroo Courts handling these situations in universities because it hurts the victim and the accused and it’s not good for anybody. So, we all want due process for both parties.
PC: You’ve attended the Commission’s Listening Session held at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville on March 27. What was your personal experience from attending this session?
MO: I was really angry because no one was invited to have a different perspective. They are getting their information from a very partial and select point of view. Especially if there’s any information from any women who were actually victimized, which those people should speak out. But they aren’t getting the proper perspective about the false accusations. They kind of just left that out like it doesn’t happen and there weren’t any false accusations made. They just ignore that.
PC: If a person believes they are being falsely accused of rape on a college campus, what steps do you suggest they take to get assistance they need?
MO: The very most important thing they need to do is get an attorney. The problem with getting an attorney is that the schools tell you that you don’t need one or that you aren’t allowed to have the participation of an attorney. What I do is talk to all of the witnesses and help them prepare their statements. I can help them because I know what information they are probably looking for and I also know what you are allowed to say… It’s also very important to seek support from other families that have been through this because it takes a very emotional toll on the accused student and don’t underestimate that. I tell the parents that the main thing we are going to do is keep their son healthy and alive during this process and then everything else is second.
PC: Is there anything else you that you think our readers should know that would be helpful if they find themselves or a family member in this situation?
MO:Two things: First, I support helping women who have been raped and that is not what this is about. What we are saying is that women need the proper support and they need that through the judicial system because people in the court system and in law enforcement are well-trained and prepared and they have had years experience dealing with this.
Secondly, I don’t think people realize the long-term and huge ramifications that occur for these boys.A couple examples to make it hit home; One is, I had a student at a school that was holding his diploma and he had a full ride to graduate school at a very prestigious university. And they were holding his diploma until his case was settled. Luckily, we worked it out, but he was going to lose his full scholarship for graduate school. That’s a big deal, especially when you can’t afford it otherwise.
Another thing is that when you get kicked out of school because of Title IX, it’s hard to get into another school because you have a Title IX accusation on your record and even though they say they aren’t going to disclose the information, the basis is there and people know. There’s like a code that there’s a violation, so you are a liability to the next school and they don’t want to let you in. Even though you are innocent, it takes years to get into a new school.
The last example has so far, been the worst. I had a student who had a scholarship for a military program. It ended up working out, but at one point during the process, it was a very real possibility that in order to pay back his scholarship the military had given him (because he was going to get expelled from school), he was going to have to immediately enlist. And when you’re nineteen and you enlist, you are likely to be deployed. So, as a result of a false accusation, he was going to have to go to war. We eventually had it resolved, but it was a huge deal.