Lawsuit trial over alleged rape at Sewanee starts in federal court

Lawsuit trial over alleged rape at Sewanee starts in federal court

August 23rd, 2011 by Todd South in Local - Breaking News

The campus of the University of the South in Sewanee.

Photo by Angela Lewis/Times Free Press.

A $3 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Sewanee: The University of the South by a former student accused of an alleged rape began this morning in federal court.

Attorneys wrapped up jury selection before a 90-minute lunch break. Seven women and two men comprise the nine-member jury.

The plaintiff, identified only as John Doe in court documents, is suing Sewanee for negligence and breach of contract, claiming he received no due process when forced to leave following a university ruling on the alleged rape.

He seeks money for the damage to his reputation and loss of future earnings.

On Aug. 29, 2008, Doe and an 18-year-old female freshman had sexual intercourse in his dorm room, according to court documents. The woman, identified as A.B., stayed for a few hours after the act, then upon leaving at about 7 a.m., called police to report she had been raped by Doe.

A.B. left the school that semester for drug and alcohol treatment and did not pursue her charge against Doe.

After the school's investigation, Doe was told he could leave for the semester and return with the charge on his student record or withdraw and reapply the next year.

U.S. District Judge Harry "Sandy" Mattice told the court he expects the trial to last until Aug. 30 or later.

For complete details, read tomorrow's Times Free Press.