published Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Jury awards $26,500 to John Doe in Sewanee lawsuit

Attorney Charles B. Wayne, "John Doe" and his mother, Mary "Doe," exit the federal courthouse Tuesday for a lunch break.
Attorney Charles B. Wayne, "John Doe" and his mother, Mary "Doe," exit the federal courthouse Tuesday for a lunch break.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

A federal jury awarded $26,500 to a former student who sued Sewanee: The University of the South for unfairly expelling him following a 2008 rape accusation.

Attorneys for the former student, identified only as John Doe, had asked the jury for $5.5 million in compensation.

The former student alleged that the university failed to protect him by not giving him a fair hearing after another student, identified only as A.B. in court documents, accused him of rape.

A.B. had accused him of rape after they’d had sex in his dorm room, but she left the school and never pursued criminal charges.

Read more in tomorrow’s Times Free Press.

• This article has been revised on September 2, 2011 to reflect the following correction:

The amount the federal jury awarded was $26,500, not $50,000 as was originally reported.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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thezgrp said...

I wish they could have restored his name and reputation. Money cannot replace character damage.

September 2, 2011 at 1:28 p.m.
Salsa said...

And his lawyer will probably get most of that amount.

September 2, 2011 at 1:39 p.m.
hcirehttae said...

Wow, the university dodged a bullet on this one. I thought this was going the other way after they railroaded him out of there (in my opinion).

Yea, Sewanee's right! -- ?? -- I guess.

September 2, 2011 at 1:44 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

I wish they could have restored his name and reputation. Money cannot replace character damage.

A settlement that small sends a message that his reputation may have been earned, at least in the eyes of the court that heard the testimony.

September 2, 2011 at 2:07 p.m.
papaw1935 said...

The jury fingings show how little of the information is known by the readers. It shows that it must have been a weak case.

September 2, 2011 at 6:13 p.m.
Draax said...

I agree that that meager settlement hints the jury didn't much care for this guy either, though the unnamed girl is likely no more a victim here truly than he was. He'll probably see about $5.00 of it once his lawyer gets his take...

September 2, 2011 at 8:33 p.m.
Karen55 said...

The jury may have assumed his guilt just like the school did, based on what the girl said happened. Remember that the judge would not allow him to prove his innocence for the alleged rape.

September 2, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

The University of the South's website shows an estimated cost of attendance at near $22,000 per semester.

http://admission.sewanee.edu/finaid/tuition

Sounds like he got his money back for that semester and a couple grand to cover fees and taxes. His lawsuit after payment will probably put him in debt by a few thousand, but it's not as bad as $22K under.

September 2, 2011 at 9:53 p.m.
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