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WCPO: Colleges Caught in Crossfire of Sex Assault Cases

WCPO: Colleges Caught in Crossfire of Sex Assault Cases

A WCPO I-Team report highlights the challenges facing schools as they seek to comply with Department of Education Guidelines for the handling of sexual assault investigations and campus disciplinary hearings.

Both men and women are suing local universities, claiming the system is rigged against them in sexual assault cases.

On one side: Two federal lawsuits filed by men allege local universities caved to pressure from the federal government, media and campus groups. They argue they’re victims of a biased system.

“If you have the mindset that the person who is accused of misconduct is not innocent until proven guilty, you’re much more likely to find them responsible or find them guilty,” civil rights attorney Joshua Engel said.

Screen Shot 2017 09 26 at 9.42.15 AMJoshua Engel is featured in the news story:

[Engel] represents one man suing Miami University and another suing the University of Cincinnati. Engel said he’s filed dozens of similar lawsuits around the country on behalf of students he claims were falsely accused of sexual assault and weren’t given due process through Title IX investigations and disciplinary hearings.

Engel told WCPO:

College disciplinary panels — the people who act as judges and juries — aren’t qualified, either, Engel argued. He says they have little to no training on how to properly handle sexual assault investigations.

“These are special and very difficult cases, and to ask the exact same people who have campus disciplinary cases over whether someone had a beer in their dorm or committed plagiarism to decide these difficult cases — it’s just inappropriate,” he said.

Full video:

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