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Former Yale basketball captain files complaint against university

Tribune News Service • Jun 10, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Former Yale basketball captain Jack Montague filed a civil complaint against the prominent university and two school officials in U.S. District Court Thursday alleging he was wrongfully expelled earlier this year amid allegations he engaged in nonconsensual sex.

Montague was expelled on Feb. 10 because the university said the former Brentwood (Tenn.) High star had “unconsented-to sex” in the fall of 2014, according to his Boston attorney, Max Stern. The complaint states that Montague “reasonably believed he had consent to engage in sexual activity” and says he never heard the woman — a student — revoke consent.

The woman said she “explicitly told Yale that she did not think Mr. Montague heard her when she purportedly said “no” to the ensuing sexual intercourse,” according to a statement from Stern.

The suit says the woman had had three previous sexual encounters with Montague, at least one of which involved consensual sexual intercourse. The woman did not want to file a formal complaint against Montague and did not want to punish him, the suit says, but wanted the university to provide training for him so that he would not repeat his behavior in the future.

Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said in an email that the lawsuit is “factually inaccurate and legally baseless, and Yale will offer a vigorous defense.”

“Yale always respects the privacy and confidentiality of all students involved in a disciplinary process. Yale’s procedures for addressing allegations of sexual misconduct are thorough and fair,” Conroy said. “Allegations are investigated by an impartial fact finder, heard by five trained members of the Yale community, and decided by the accused student’s dean. Throughout the process, all parties have advisors, which can be legal counsel, and they can appeal a decision.”

Angela Gleason, Yale’s deputy Title IX coordinator in the Office of the Provost and Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator in the Office of the Provost, Jason Killheffer, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.

Montague’s suit says the action taken by the defendants resulted from a “deeply flawed process during which the plaintiff was denied the most rudimentary elements of fairness promised to him by Yale” according to the suit. “As a result, Mr. Montague suffered and continues to suffer, reputational, emotional, and financial damages of an enormous magnitude.”

The complaint also alleges that the expulsion is Yale’s attempt at “public redemption” after the university ranked third-highest of undergraduate sexual assaults in a survey by the Association of American Universities of 27 schools.

The expulsion made national headlines toward the end of the Yale basketball season when the team made the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 54 years.

Montague and Stern said in a statement they have no plans to comment on the case now that it is filed.

Conroy said that where cases involve judgments about the witnesses’ credibility, all of the available corroborating or contradictory information is carefully weighed.

One out of five formal sexual misconduct hearings at Yale has ended without a finding against the accused, and, in two out of five cases, the accused student has received a reprimand or probation, according to the university.

Only about one out of 10 cases has ended in expulsion. Conroy said the decision to expel a student has been made only after the most careful consideration, based on the facts and, when appropriate, disciplinary history.

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