Students Cleared of Rape Sue College, Claim They Were Sexually Harassed By Allegations

Two former Wofford College students who have been cleared of rape charges filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school, alleging it took no action against false claims they were rapists, which amounted to sexual harassment.

The students, identified only as John Doe and Jack Roe in the suit filed on April 29, enrolled in the private South Carolina college in 2014. However, they withdrew in 2016, citing repercussions from the school's actions that failed to protect them from false accusations.

While "hundreds of students at the school heard the false allegations that the Plaintiffs were rapists," the lawsuit claimed none of the students heard they were cleared of wrongdoing or of Doe's and Roe's complaints.

Title IX protects students and faculty members from sexual harassment and designated Title IX coordinators are responsible for handling cases. However, students at multiple schools, including Virginia Tech and Princeton University, recently held protests about Title IX, arguing that it's an ineffective system.

In their suit, Doe and Roe also criticized the coordinator's and deputy coordinator's actions, claiming they fabricated an allegation, were biased against men and failed to investigate their complaints. The students alleged the school destroyed evidence favorable to them and argued Wofford College was "deliberately indifferent" to a number of circumstances including:

  • Plaintiffs' complaints about being sexually harassed and called rapists
  • PG's violation of the no-contact order
  • Plaintiffs' rights to be free from the improper use of its Title IX policy to charge male students without any cause but fail to investigate complaints against female students
wofford college lawsuit rape
GAVEL RESTING ON REFLECTIVE BENCH SURFACE WITH AMERICAN FLAG IN BACKGROUND. On April 29, two former Wofford College students filed a lawsuit claiming they were discriminated against by the school's handling of claims they were sexually harassed. ClassicStock/Getty Images

A female student, identified as PG in the suit, alleged that Doe and Roe "tricked her" into engaging in sexual conduct with the wrong person in March 2015. Though the allegations were later determined to be unfounded, Roe and Doe said that PG and other women falsely accused them of being "rapists," subjecting them to sexual harassment, hazing and bullying.

The suit claimed the men first reported how they were being treated to the school in March 2015 and then again in May 2015. However, they contended the school failed to act despite admitting under oath that false rape allegations would be considered sexual harassment and protected under the Title IX policy. Newsweek reached out to Wofford College but did not receive a response in time for publication.

The school imposed a no-contact restriction between PG and Roe and Doe, which the suit claimed PG broke several times. Her presence at a function at the Pi Kappa Alpha house, where both Roe and Doe were members, allegedly caused the male students to experience fear and anxiety. After his, and the other alleged violations, they complained to the school, but claimed no action was taken.

Following the first alleged encounter in March 2015, in October of that year, PG claimed Roe had both consensual and non-consensual sexual conduct with her and she filed a claim with the school in May 2016.

While an investigation was allegedly never conducted into the male students' claims, the lawsuit said after PG filed her claim, the school opened a Title IX complaint into Roe and Doe.

"In a September 19, 2016, letter, Plaintiffs learned of Defendant's determination that the allegations concerning March 20-21, 2015 made by PG against Plaintiffs were unfounded," the lawsuit stated. "The allegations were so weak that they were dismissed without a hearing or a complete investigation being conducted."

The school's handling of the situation caused Roe and Doe to experience "mental anguish, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of reputation, anxiety, physical hurt, loss of investment, loss of time, loss of money," according to the suit. It requested compensatory damages and attorney's fees.

Students Cleared of Rape Sue College, Claim They Were Sexually Harassed By Allegations | U.S.