Boston College Pays Student $100,000 After Punishing Him for a Different Student’s Assault
In September, a federal jury found that Boston College mishandled sexual assault allegations against one of its students, known in court filings as John Doe. As a result, the private, nonprofit institution paid the student $100,000 in reparative damages, covering both a semester of tuition and loss of income.
According to the report, the school made a decision without citing proper evidence. The assault was an isolated incident, and when it allegedly occurred, camera footage revealed that Doe was several feet away from the girl who was assaulted. He was immediately detained and tested for DNA evidence, but they failed to find anything to justify the allegations.
Furthermore, Doe’s acquaintance (referred to as “JK”) was closer to the girl than Doe was at the time of the incident. JK made more than one suspicious comment that led many (including Doe) to believe he was the true perpetrator.
While the district attorney dropped all charges, the school continued its own investigation. Doe claimed that JK was the offender, but the school ultimately held Doe responsible and suspended him for more than a year. This delayed his graduation and, therefore, his law career.
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Not the First of Its Kind—and Likely Not the Last
Doe v. Trustees of Boston College is one of many cases claiming Title IX offices have broken the law, but this is the first to have made it to a jury since the Obama Education Department declared sexual violence a form of sex discrimination in 2011. This decision changed the way campuses handle sexual misconduct claims because the schools will lose their federal funding if they fail to investigate allegations of sexual assault or harassment. Schools now have Title IX coordinators, investigators, and adjudicators acting as police, jury, and judge, but these officials usually lack the legal training needed to conduct a fair hearing.
For the accused, this inexperience often means suspension or expulsion without due process. Title IX officials at college campuses may fail to uphold certain principles of justice, including:
- The defendant’s presumption of innocence (innocent until proven guilty)
- Each party’s right to call and cross-examine witnesses
- Each party’s right to see evidence
The Obama-era regulations were designed to safeguard those who have been harmed by sexual assault or harassment, but many argue that the “judicial” power given to Title IX school offices is sorely unregulated.
As a result, falsely accused students like John Doe suffer severe consequences. In Doe’s case, the school failed to observe due process by ignoring exculpatory evidence. Many worry that errors like this will continue.
Have You Been Falsely Accused? Get in Touch with Our Firm Right Away.
The goal of the Title IX process must be truth and fairness. If you need exceptional representation, Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC stands ready to assist.
To learn more about your rights and how we will help preserve them, contact us online or call us directly at (737) 200-2332.