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Stephen Henrick on the Sexual Assault Case OCR Ignored

Former FIRE legal intern Stephen Henrick wrote for The Huffington Post yesterday to comment on the Department of Education’s double standard when it comes to Title IX enforcement. In his article, Henrick explains: In May of 2012, a student identifying himself as “John Doe” filed suit against the University of Montana claiming he was about to be railroaded into a false conviction for sexual assault. Although the judge hearing the case dismissed it based on a legal technicality, the decision noted that “the process applied to Plaintiff Doe and the behavior of University officials in investigating and prosecuting this matter offends the Court’s sense of fundamental fairness and appears to fall short of the minimal moral obligation of any tribunal to respect the rights and dignity of the accused” (p. 208 of 281 in the record in the case, available here). In other words, a federal judge issued an opinion noting that the University of Montana’s sexual assault grievance process is fundamentally unfair to accused students. One year later, in May of 2013, OCR announced a joint Title IX settlement with that same university and the U.S. Department of Justice. … Importantly, OCR claims it examined every sexual assault grievance that the University received during the 2011-12 school year as part of the settlement process (p. 10). ... Nowhere in OCR’s 31-page, single-spaced letter of findings does the Department mention Doe’s case or any instance in which an accused student was mistreated. Read the rest of Henrick’s article at The Huffington Post.

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