Recently, the attorneys at Johnson Law Group filed a lawsuit against Illinois State University in federal district court. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a former ISU student who claims that he was the victim of sex discrimination due to the university’s mishandling of false sexual assault allegations made against him. The lawsuit is seeking over $1 million in damages.
According to the suit, Johnson Law Group’s client was restricted from sections of ISU’s campus and was ordered to cease contact with the female student who alleged that the two had non-consensual sex in November of 2016. The client, referred to as John Doe to protect his privacy and reputation, was later suspended before a hearing on the allegations took place.
No criminal charges were filed against John Doe. ISU had an internal hearing in late January and notified John Doe that the University had ruled in his favor on February 1, 2017. According to the lawsuit, he did not get a notice that his suspension and restrictions had been lifted until three weeks later.
Because of the way the dispute was handled, John Doe ended up failing his fall 2016 classes and was not able to enroll for spring classes in 2017.
Speaking on the matter, attorney Brendan Bukalski had the following to say, “ISU wrongfully suspended and banned our client from the university, despite him being vindicated of the allegations and all wrongful conduct. The University’s unfounded charges that were filed against our client for sexual assault have had lasting social, economic, and reputational harm."
Johnson Law Group alleges that the federal Title IX anti-discrimination law the university used for the investigation process violates the due process rights of people who have been accused of sexual assault because it denies them a fair and impartial hearing before imposing sanctions on the alleged perpetrator.
Attorney Mark Johnson says that the Law Group’s client’s academic and professional prospects have been shattered because of these false allegations and the university’s investigation process. “The McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office elected not to pursue any criminal charges whatsoever against our client. They made the right call,” Mr. Johnson said. However the attorneys at Johnson Law Group “believe that ISU did not make the right judgment call by pressing charges administratively against their client.”
According to Attorney Johnson, John Doe has been fighting against the false allegations for over a year, and in that time he has been “required to withdraw from Illinois State University” and has been forced to “work menial labor jobs ever since then despite having completed three successful years at ISU with an unblemished record.”
Attorney Bukalski says they are looking for “an admission by Illinois State University that they acted improperly” and for ISU to reform the way it conducts hearings in cases that involve allegations of sexual assault.
Illinois State University has declined to comment on the case.
Have you been wrongly accused of sexual assault at school? Have these allegations negatively impacted your life? We can help. Contact our Illinois team of Title IX investigation attorneys to set up your free consultation today.