Miltenberg: “Title IX Rights and The Innocent John,” Simple Justice


Andrew Miltenberg won another big decision against Syracuse University. His client was John Doe. They’re always John Doe, and the accuser is Jane Doe, no relation. There are two things about this win that stand out. The first is that Judge David Hurd of the Northern District of New York recognized the inherent bias in “trauma-informed” interrogation. John also contends defendants were influenced by biased sexual assault trauma training they received, specifically “trauma-informed investigation and adjudication processes,” which is required by federal and New York State law. The goal of which, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (“Office of Civil Rights”), is to ensure “the protection of girls and women.” Recipients of this type of training are taught that “inconsistencies in a complainant’s story are a direct result of the trauma,” that is, that they are “a natural byproduct of sexual assault as opposed to an indicator that the complainant’s story may lack credibility.” Plaintiff contends that this “bias in favor of the female accuser” is the only explanation for the Conduct Board’s findings in light of Jane’s inconsistent allegations.This bias, according to John, is further evidenced by the Conduct Board’s finding that Jane’s “actions throughout the process are consistent with a traumatic event such as she described in her statement.”

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