Cameron Jackson, a former Liberty University football player who said he was expelled by the school for sexual assault despite local law enforcement officials clearing his name, has filed a $102 million lawsuit against the university, five of its employees, and a former student athlete who accused him of rape.
Jackson, according to The News & Advance, alleges in the lawsuit that his Title IX rights were violated, he was defamed by the university, and was denied due process during an investigation into an alleged August 2015 sexual assault.
The Liberty University employees named in the lawsuit are: Robert Mullin, dean of students; Valerie Dufort, assistant director of Liberty’s Title IX Office; Len Stevens, LU’s spokesman; and Jonathan Ignacio and Elysa Bucci, assistant directors for the LU Office of Community Life.
A LawNewz report notes that Jackson was expelled from Liberty in October 2016 for violating policies related to sexual assault just hours before law enforcement officials told him a police investigation was complete and he would not be facing charges.
He says in the lawsuit that while he did have a sexual encounter with the female student who accused him of assault, it was consensual. The lawsuit further alleges that Jackson’s accuser was a student athlete involved in a non-exclusive sexual relationship with him and other football players. She was dismissed from Liberty after multiple student conduct violations. Jackson claims in the suit that his accuser and two other Liberty female students engaged in a conspiracy against the football team, which included two later sexual assault claims that were reported to the university but not to law enforcement in an effort to get the football players in trouble.
Nevertheless, Liberty’s Conduct Review Committee determined that Jackson was in violation of their policy on sexual assault. The university then sent out a press release of their decision, and the story appeared on “[e]very local radio station … the local newspaper, and several local radio stations,” while an appeal by Jackson was pending. The release later got national attention due to coverage by The Associated Press.
He claims he was harassed on campus because of the news and despite multiple people approaching the university in his defense, Liberty’s assistant director of Title IX, Valerie Dufort, allegedly told them that their testimony wouldn’t be viewed as credible because they came forward well after the report.
A hearing on Jackson’s appeal was eventually held and university officials stood by their initial decision to expel him on the same day that local police announced they would not be charging him with sexual assault after their investigation.
Source: Christian Post | LEONARDO BLAIR
Cameron Jackson has filed an 84 page defamation lawsuit claiming his Title IX rights were violated last Fall when Liberty University distributed a press release named Jackson as a person being investigated for sexual assault against another student.
The incident in question happened in August 2015 but wasn’t reported until July 2016.
According to the lawsuit, the accuser’s account of what happened changed several times resulting in the Commonwealth’s Attorney dropping the case last Fall.
Although the charges were dropped, Liberty’s review board rejected Jackson’s appeal to rejoin the football team.
Jackson is seeking a total of $100 million from both the university and the accuser and an additional $2 million from the five others. Jackson has also requested a trial by jury of all triable issues in the lawsuit.
A statement from Liberty University says, “Because of federal privacy regulations, there are limits to what can be revealed from a student’s records about allegations of student conduct code violations and the disciplinary proceedings to find whether the student was or was not responsible. Therefore, this statement is general in nature and focused on process.
Liberty University has carefully calibrated its Title IX policies and procedures to comply with requirements of federal law and agency guidance, and in the process, to be equally fair to complaining students and accused students alike, whether male or female. These even-handed policies and procedures were followed in Mr. Jackson’s case.
Source: WDBJ7 | Logan Sherrill