A former basketball captain at Yale University who was expelled last February after an alleged sexual assault is now suing the school for defamation and breach of contract.
The lawsuit, filed by attorney William F. Dow in US District Court in New Haven, Connecticut, states that the former captain, Jack Montague, who was set to graduate this spring, "had a promising future." It argues that the school expelled him as a "public example" in order to show how strict the school was with regards to instances of sexual assault.
"He was deprived of the Ivy League degree he came so close to obtaining," said Montague's lawyers. "He was deprived of the ability to join the Yale men's basketball team in the NCAA playoffs (a feat the team had achieved, with Mr. Montague's skill and leadership, for the first time in 54 years), and he was unfairly branded a sexual assailant, a label he may never be able to shed."
Named as defendants in the lawsuit are the university itself along with two officials responsible for overseeing the school's compliance with federal sexual equality laws. The suit did not specify any damages, but is asking that they be determined at a jury trial, reports Alex Johnson for NBC News.
In response to the lawsuit, the school said it was "factually inaccurate and legally baseless," and said it would offer a "vigorous defense."
Montague was accused of sexual assault on November 18, 2015, according to a complaint that had been filed on behalf of the woman involved by Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator Jason Killheffer. Since that time, Montague's attorney states he was kicked off the basketball team, expelled from school, labeled a "sexual offender" and rapist, writes Morgan Walker for Campus Reform.
The lawsuit states by expelling Montague, the school is taking advantage of awareness pertaining to sexual misconduct occurring there.
"It was in this climate—permeated by deep mistrust and anger amongst Yale students and near-panic on the part of Yale administrators—that the defendants misled and pressured a female student, against her original wishes to participate in a formal complaint process against Montague, accusing him of sexual assault."
The complaint went on to say that the victim, referred to as "Jane Roe," did not want Montague to be punished the way that he had been. Instead, it suggests she wanted a Title IX coordinator to talk to him and offer him some sort of training. The complaint also states the original claim was brought forward by the Title IX office under false pretenses.
While Montague is the fourth male student at the school to be expelled for non-consensual sexual conduct within the last five years, other instances were the men involved were found to be guilty of the same actions did not result in the same level of punishment. Those instances involved a total of 14 men.
Montague is seeking damages from the school as well as reinstatement as a student in good standing. In addition, he would like the University Wide Committee on Sexual Conduct proceedings to be opened and for his transcripts and disciplinary records to be expunged.
The complaint added that while the lawsuit may not help to make Montague whole again, it could work to fix some of the problems caused by Yale and the employees there toward his reputation and future.