Former Ole Miss student files lawsuit claiming gender-based discrimination after sexual assault accusation

Published 9:00 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

A University of Mississippi student suspended for sexual misconduct is suing the school, the State Institutions of Higher Learning and several others for denying him the ability to finish his degree because of a false claim of sexual abuse made against him by someone other than the alleged victim.

The suit, filed in March in federal court by Jackson Attorney J. Lawson Hester on behalf of the male student under the pseudonym “Andrew Doe,” is seeking declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief on the grounds of gender-based discrimination, violations of equal protection and due process and breach of contract.

In the complaint, Doe claims he was disciplined for having sex with a female student while she was under the influence of alcohol; however, she was not disciplined for having sex with him while he was also under the influence.

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Doe and the woman, listed under the pseudonym, “Bethany Roe,” were both students in November 2016 when they met and started seeing each other socially. Doe invited Roe to his fraternity’s Christmas party in December 2016. They both indulged in alcohol and went to Doe’s apartment after the party via a taxicab at about 10:30 p.m. They had sex and then Roe left when her friends picked her up at Doe’s apartment.

“At no time during their interaction did (Roe) ever tell Doe to stop touching her or provide any indication that she did not want to continue,” the suit states.

At 11:30 pm. that same night, a friend of Roe’s contacted law enforcement to report that Roe had been taken to Doe’s apartment against her will and was sexually assaulted. Roe told law enforcement she did not believe she was sexually assaulted and that the “decision to have sex was mutual.”

Doe was never formally charged with any crime and Roe never filed a complaint. However, a year later, in March 2017, a hearing was held before the University Judicial Council and Doe was expelled from Ole Miss. Doe appealed the decision, which was later changed from an expulsion to a suspension until fall 2020.

“Despite the fact that both Doe and Roe voluntarily went out with each other … drank alcohol together and voluntarily ‘hooked up,’ with each other, Roe was assumed to have been assaulted even after she told police that the sexual activity between herself and Doe was mutually consensual,” the complaint reads. “Doe, the male, was disciplined for engaging in sexual intercourse with Roe while she was under the influence, but Roe was not disciplined for engaging in sexual intercourse with Doe while he was under the influence.”

In the suit, Doe is seeking a jury trial and is asking for an injunction to remove any indication of the disciplinary finding against him removed from his record, and monetary relief in an amount to be determined by the jury.