If you or someone you know needs resources or support related to sexual violence, contact the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault’s 24/7 hotline at 800-871-7741.
A former University of Farmington student has settled his lawsuit against the University of Maine System over allegations that he was the victim of a sexual assault for $45,000.
The man, who was referred to as John Doe in the lawsuit, also maintained that the university didn’t investigate the alleged assault and that he suffered emotionally and financially from being placed on an interim suspension while the school investigated him.
The former student was accused publicly by multiple women of assaulting or harassing them and, though he later was found not responsible for sexual assault by the school, was banned from campus. He was allowed to attend classes remotely in 2019, according to the university.
“This case has been settled based on the belief that the agreement reached is in the best interest of all of the parties, including the university,” Dan Demeritt, spokesperson for the University of Maine System, said Wednesday.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor in September 2019, alleged that the university did not take his account seriously when he told school employees that a female student raped him in the 2017 spring semester.
It also claimed that the school’s Title IX investigations into allegations of rape and assault against him, which resulted in his being suspended, harmed his opportunity for an education and caused him to lose income from his part-time position as a lifeguard at UMF’s Fitness and Recreation Center.
Lawyers for the university system denied the allegations. As part of the settlement agreement, the system continues to deny any wrongdoing or liability in the lawsuit, which was dismissed April 29, one week after Doe signed the settlement agreement.
The settlement amount includes Doe’s legal fees. The cost of the litigation is not included in the settlement agreement but in Maine, most lawyers take discrimination cases on a contingency basis in exchange for one-third of the settlement amount.
Doe’s disciplinary records will be maintained for seven years as required by Title XI. The agreement also bars Doe from applying to attend, attending or working at any campus within Maine’s public university system. It also said that he has been dismissed as a student from UMF.
Although Demeritt did not comment on the contents of the settlement Wednesday, when the lawsuit was filed he said: “One of our highest priorities is the protection of our students and the campus community. Equally important is our respect for students’ legal rights to due process. We have been properly balancing both.”
A request for comment from Doe’s Portland legal team was not immediately returned.