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Former IU Student Accused Of Rape Files Lawsuit Of Gender Bias

Last updated on Tuesday, December 27, 2016

(BLOOMINGTON) - A former Indiana University student filed a lawsuit accusing the university of damaging his reputation and stacking the deck against male students accused in rape cases.

Aaron Farrer was accused of rape in September 2015.

According to police reports, a woman says Farrer took advantage of her drunken state and raped her. But Farrer, who was also drunk, told police the woman consented to the sex and initiated the act.

Both she and Farrer agreed that they had sex that night, but the woman claims she was so intoxicated that she couldn't have consented to the act therefore it was rape.

In November 2015, a sexual misconduct hearing on the incident was held before a three-person panel in a conference room at IU's ethics office. They heard evidence in the case and found in woman's favor, holding Farrer accountable for what had happened. He was expelled from IU, where he had been a cadet on the IU police force and an ROTC officer.

Monroe Superior Court dismissed the case in September 2016, citing insufficient evidence.

Monroe County Chief Prosecutor Bob Miller told the woman there was insufficient evidence to move forward with the case, saying the dismissal was inevitable saying under Indiana's rape statute, a person's impairment or level of intoxication must be so great that they are unaware of the sexual conduct which was not what happened in this case.

Farrer has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The suit accuses Indiana University of engaging in a "gender-biased" investigation into the incident. He is seeking damages and injunctive relief to remedy emotional, mental, economic, and physical harm caused by the University and unlawful expulsion from the university violating his constitutional rights and Title IX regulations.

"IU violated Title IX by creating a gender biased, hostile environment against males, like Farrer, based in part on IU's pattern and practice of disciplining male students who accept physical contact initiated by female students, but failing to discipline female students who engage in the same conduct," according to court documents.

Farrer is seeking a jury trial and damages in excess of $75,000. He wants the university to reinstate him and expunge his files of information related to the case.

The lawsuit said the university took the accuser's claims at face value and referred to her as the victim from the beginning of the investigation, "thus demonstrating IU's preconceived notion that Farrer was guilty and that female complainants are victims in need of special treatment."

The lawsuit said Farrer was not allowed to bring a counterclaim against his accuser and described the university's investigation as "incomplete and biased."

Indiana University spokeswoman Margie Smith-Simmons provided the following statement about the lawsuit:

"While Indiana University cannot comment on pending litigation or, due to federal privacy laws, specific student disciplinary cases, the university's Sexual Misconduct Policy provides for a fair, impartial and robust investigation and adjudication process when responding to reports of alleged sexual assault. Indiana University is strongly committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all members of its community, and assuring that its processes are fair and afford due process protections."

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