By Thomas Regan
A former student who was expelled for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student has filed a lawsuit against Rider, after he said the university disciplined him without an investigation.
The student, identified as “John Doe” in the Aug. 11 lawsuit, said the university suspended him based solely on the female student’s account of the night that he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
“Rather than investigating [the two women involved], Jane Roe’s and Jane Roe 2’s allegations, the university blindly accepted them,” a copy of the lawsuit said. “In a rush to convict John and brand him a sexual predator, Rider immediately, without any investigation, suspended John from the university.”
Though the student was not prosecuted in the Mercer County Prosecutor’s office, Rider continued the suspension, while it conducted “the most perfunctory of investigations,” the lawsuit claims.
Rider would not answer questions about the suit.
“Rider University is committed to fostering an environment of mutual respect throughout our community as reflected in our policies, mission and values,” Assistant Vice President of University Communications and Marketing Kristine Brown said. “Sexual assault, harassment or discrimination of any kind is not acceptable here. While federal law prevents us from discussing individual student’s educational or disciplinary records, we believe our anti-harassment and non-discrimination policy and processes are fair, equitable and impartial. These processes are followed in all reported incidents.”
The lawsuit says the incident occurred early in the morning on Oct. 18, when John Doe and his friend, identified as “Joe Doe” in the lawsuit, found two freshman women in the men’s bathroom. The four freshmen talked, and John and Joe invited the two women back to Joe’s dorm room, the lawsuit claims.
Inside the dorm room, John Doe and the victim of the alleged assault, identified as “Jane Roe,” went to the bed of Joe’s roommate, who was not in the dorm. Meanwhile, Joe Doe and the second freshman woman, identified as “Jane Roe 2” went to Joe’s bed. The lawsuit said Joe Doe passed out from his alcohol intake, and Jane Roe 2 left the dorm room.
John Doe and Jane Roe remained in the room and began “consensual kissing and light touching,” but the lawsuit says there was no sexual intercourse, and the encounter was interrupted by banging on the door by several friends asking for Jane Roe.
Jane Roe exited the dorm with her shirt on backwards and a hickey on her neck, forcing one of her friends to confront John Doe, the lawsuit claims.
John Doe assured the man that everything that happened was consensual and went back to bed, before he was awoken by Public Safety at 5 a.m. that morning, the lawsuit said.