Miltenberg: “Appeals Court Blasts Title IX Official for Changing Accuser’s Claims, Says It Suggests Biased Proceeding,” The College Fix


Former prosecutor’s explanation ‘bordered on the incoherent’ A New York state appeals court ordered a university to provide evidence that may exonerate a student expelled for sexual misconduct, based on a Title IX official’s possibly biased conduct in the proceeding. Chantelle Cleary, former Title IX coordinator at the State University of New York-Albany, “admittedly altered the facts as reported to her” by the unnamed accuser when Cleary submitted her referral report to the Student Conduct Board three years ago. Even though he refused to order discovery in the case, the trial judge said Cleary’s explanation for her actions “bordered on the incoherent,” according to the Nov. 25 ruling by the Third Judicial Department of the Supreme Court’s Appellate Division … The ruling was 4-1, with Justice Michael Lynch disagreeing with his colleagues that Cleary’s behavior suggested bias and downplaying her role in the guilty finding against “Alexander M.,” as the expelled student is known. Three of the four justices in the majority, including the author, Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald, are women. The ruling drew attention in the local media because Cleary was a prosecutor in the “special victims unit” in Albany County from 2010 to 2014, before she joined UAlbany. She “successfully handled cases involving sex trafficking, animal cruelty and rape,” the Times Union reported Monday. Alexander’s attorneys Andrew Miltenberg and Philip Byler told the newspaper they plan to depose Cleary. The ruling reaffirms that “an impartial investigation and hearing is critical in Title IX matters.” Another attorney for accused students, Marybeth Sydor, called the ruling “[r]emarkable.” The opinion “has lots of good language on danger of bias in TIX proceedings,” tweeted Brooklyn College Prof. KC Johnson, who chronicles Title IX litigation: The justices were “biting” in criticizing Cleary’s conduct.

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