Miltenberg: “Law Beat: Former prosecutor in middle of UAlbany legal battle,” Times Union


As a prosecutor in Albany County, Chantelle Cleary successfully handled cases involving sex trafficking, animal cruelty and rape. Now Cleary’s work is at the center of another sex crime case – this time involving a former University at Albany student who claims Cleary was biased against him, which led to his dismissal from the school. The former student claims Cleary was biased while in her former role as the school’s Title IX coordinator investigating allegations of sexual assault.  That alleged bias, the former student and his lawyers contend, led to his expulsion for violating the school’s code of conduct. And following a decision by the state’s second-highest court on Thursday, the ex-student has a chance to make his case for reinstatement. “An impartial investigation performed by bias-free investigators is the substantive foundation of the entire administrative proceeding,” the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court’s Third Department stated in a 4-1 ruling. Appellate Justice Molly Reynolds Fitzgerald authored the decision, which was supported by Presiding Justice Elizabeth Garry and Justices Sharon Aarons and John Colangelo. Justice Michael Lynch dissented … The ruling said the male student, who gave the only first-person account, maintains he was a passive participant in an oral sexual encounter in September 2017. But it said Clearly gave a “significantly different rendering of the event” in a notice of investigation to the male student. It portrayed him as the aggressive party and backed the allegation of Sexual Assault I in the school’s code of conduct. “It is not unreasonable to question whether Cleary changed the wording (and as such the alleged facts) to correspond with the definition of sexual assault I as found in the student code,” Fitzgerald stated … Cleary, who worked in the special victims unit for District Attorney David Soares from 2010 to 2014, has since left UAlbany. She declined to comment on the pending litigation, according to a person at Grand River Solutions, a company where Clearly works as a senior IX consultant. A UAlbany spokesman said the college does not comment on pending litigation. Andrew T. Miltenberg and Philip Byler, attorneys at the Manhattan-based firm of Nesenoff & Miltenberg, which represents the male student, called the ruling “an important recognition that an impartial investigation and hearing is critical in Title IX matters.” They said they plan to depose Cleary.

Click to view article