Penn State student sues school over sexual misconduct allegations

By Bree Gonzales | Dec 31, 2018

HARRISBURG — A third-year electrical engineering student is suing Pennsylvania State University, citing an alleged violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. §1983.

John Doe filed a complaint on Dec. 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against The Pennsylvania State University, alleging that Penn State’s investigative model denied him his right to due process and deprives him of his right to an education and his Penn State degree; sullies his reputation, jeopardizes his future livelihood and has caused him significant emotional distress.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges he was suspended based upon a Title IX Hearing Panel’s finding that he allegedly violated the University’s Code of Conduct’s sexual misconduct policy. The investigation and hearing process deprived Doe of the most basic due process protections, including the rights to call witnesses on his own behalf; to confront and cross-examine his accuser and adverse witnesses, and to have a fair, unbiased and unconflicted tribunal comprised of individuals. 

The plaintiff holds Pennsylvania State University responsible because the student disciplinary proceedings at state-funded universities must be conducted in conformity with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The plaintiff seeks an injunction requiring the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct vacate the Title IX Decision Panel's April 20 finding that he was "responsible" for violating the Code of Conduct by engaging in nonconsensual intercourse; issue an injunction requiring that Penn State reinstate him as a student in good standing at Penn State; issue an injunction requiring that the Senior Director of the Office of Student Conduct expunge all aspects of his student disciplinary file pertaining to the allegations leveled against him by complainant; and monetary damages, attorney's fees, and costs of suit. He is represented by Andrew Shubin in State College.

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Case No. is 4:18-cv-02350-MWB.

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Andrew Shubin U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Wilkes-Barre Division

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