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Calif. Court: USC Sexual Assault Investigations Unfair

January 10, 2019
 
 

A California state appeals court has ruled that college students who could be expelled or severely punished for sexual misconduct must be allowed to question their accuser.

The court ruled on a lawsuit that emerged from a disciplinary case involving a University of Southern California football player, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The student was kicked out of the university for allegedly raping another student, but he never received a hearing over the accusations, according to the newspaper.

The Second District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles deemed USC’s sexual assault investigations unfair. The institution’s system gives one official “the overlapping and inconsistent roles of investigator, prosecutor, fact-finder and sentencer,” Justice Thomas Willhite wrote in a 3-0 ruling. This is commonly known as a single-investigator model.

The ruling comes at a time when U.S. secretary of education Betsy DeVos has proposed new regulations around a key federal gender antidiscrimination law that would provide more protections for students accused of sexual assault.

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