Hearing date set in John Doe case against Occidental

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Author: Alex Nieves

A hearing date has been scheduled for the on-going John Doe vs. Occidental College civil suit, in which an anonymous 18-year-old male student — who has withheld his real name in order to protect his privacy — is suing the college after being expelled for sexual assault in 2013.

Judge Luis A. Lavin has set the hearing for January 22, 2015, establishing the time-table for a case that was filed with the Los Angeles Superior Court on Feburary 13, 2014.

The court has also ordered both parties to meet at a settlement conference in the hopes that they can reach a mutual resolution before the case reaches the trial hearing. The settlement conference will be set for a date in the near future.

Doe was found responsible for sexual assault by Occidental in the spring of 2013 and subsequently expelled after the school ruled that a then 17-year-old female classmate was too drunk to consent to sex.

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office found that both parties were intoxicated, but willing participates in the sexual encounter. It declined to press rape charges against Doe, citing insufficient evidence.

However, an outside attorney hired by the college to examine the investigative report, Marilou F. Mirkovich, concluded in favor of the school. Mirkovich found that although Doe was himself too drunk to realize that the female student was incapable of giving consent, the school’s policy states that alcohol consumption cannot excuse sexual misconduct. Occidental administrators upheld Mirkovich’s conclusion and denied Doe’s appeal to overturn the school’s charges.

Doe’s lawsuit against Occidental claims that the school denied his right to an attorney, ignored pieces of evidence, did not allow him to ask all of his questions to witnesses and refused his request for a three-person hearing panel.

The case recently resurfaced in the media in mid-July after Tyler Kingkade of the Huffington Post wrote an article claiming that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) published a confidential investigator’s report on it’s website that released the names of witnesses to the case, subjecting at least one female witness to email harassment.

FIRE, which has been supporting Doe in this case, released a press release on June 4 to highlight what it believes is evidence of Occidental’s wrongdoing. This included posting the court documents for the case — which included the names of witnesses — on the FIRE website.

While the Huffington Post article originally contended that these documents were confidential, as court filings, they have in fact been available as public record since February.

Attorney Mark Hathaway, who is representing John Doe, said that he could not comment on pending litigation.

@alexdnieves5

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