The president-elect of the Association for Student Conduct Administration published an open letter on Twitter Wednesday evening, the first night of the organization’s annual conference, in which she says she was sexually assaulted by its former president-elect and that the ASCA “has not had my back” in the incident’s aftermath.
In the letter, Jill Creighton, assistant director of global community standards at New York University, said Jason Casares, who had stepped down a day earlier, “took advantage of me after I had had too much to drink” at the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors December convention in Fort Worth, Tex. “I did not consent to sexual contact with Jason.”
Afterward, Creighton wrote, she filed a criminal complaint with the police in Texas and asked the ASCA to impeach Casares, who is also associate dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator at Indiana University at Bloomington.
“We cannot claim national leadership in addressing sexual misconduct, only to fail miserably in our first test within our own association,” she wrote. “In the process to resolve the impeachment, Jason had all the rights, and I was placed on involuntary suspension. I was repeatedly told that this isn’t a Title IX matter, and while I understand that, I am speaking my truth to make sure that our association takes a hard look in the mirror before it claims national leadership on sexual misconduct.”
Casares “categorically denies the false accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by a colleague on the board of the Association for Student Conduct Administration,” said a press release issued Thursday by his lawyer, who did not elaborate. “The claims made by Mr. Casares’s accuser, NYU employee Jill Creighton, were the subject of a comprehensive investigation by an outside law firm hired by the ASCA for that purpose. The outside investigators found no evidence of misconduct by Mr. Casares, and determined that Ms. Creighton’s claims were not valid.”
After Creighton filed the complaint, the ASCA conducted an investigation that found no wrongdoing, but Casares resigned Tuesday, shortly after the investigation concluded. The ASCA released a statement Thursday that said a “rigorous investigation” by an independent investigator found “Ms. Creighton's claims could not be substantiated.” (The quote had been updated to correct one word that was in error.)
Upon learning about the criminal complaint Wednesday night, a spokesperson for Indiana University said, Casares was placed on administrative leave and the university is investigating the situation.
Casares's lawyer, Tony Paganelli, stressed that Casares resigned only after the investigation found no wrongdoing. Moving forward, Paganelli said, his primary goal "is to investigate whether statements Creighton made on social media and in person at the conference give rise to any lawsuit against her for defamation, and we're currently analyzing that situation now."
“When Jason resigned, I was shocked to learn that he was still planning to attend the conference, and was still planning to present his sessions on Title IX,” Creighton wrote in her letter. “I needed a safe space, and to be able to attend this conference free of the hostile environment that his presence creates for me. ASCA has failed to protect me.”
Although Casares has resigned as president-elect, ASCA noted in its response to Creighton’s letter, “he remains a member of ASCA and maintains the same rights as other members to attend and present at ASCA events. ASCA is working to accommodate the needs of both Ms. Creighton and Mr. Casares during this difficult time, taking into account safety and privacy precautions …. The complaint resolution process has come to a close for the association and we are focused on the future and moving forward.”
"When board members take office, each of us is required to sign agreements ensuring that we will maintain confidentiality and that we will fulfill our duties, which include exhibiting care and loyalty to the association in our decisions," the statement continues. "We remain committed to these principles as individuals and as a collective board, and we will continue to make decisions that we believe are in the best interest of the association and its members."
Casares, who has since disabled his Twitter account, could not be reached for comment.