Former Indiana University Student Accused of Rape Sues University and Accuser

Former Indiana University student Aaron Farrer is suing the school over what he calls "preferential treatment" of a female student who accused Farrer of rape in September 2015, according to the Indianapolis Star. Farrer also claims that the school has in place “numerous mandates to make it more difficult for males accused of sexual misconduct to defend themselves.”

Farrer’s accuser, who is not named to protect her privacy, reported the incident to police, showing them a text message Farrer sent her the following day to apologize for the incident. Farrer insisted that the woman initiated sex, but the Indiana Daily Student reports that the woman said she was blacked out at the time.

Last November, Farrer was expelled from the university. In September of this year, the criminal case against him was dismissed due to insufficient evidence.

According to the Star, Farrer filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court, claiming that he was a victim of defamation, that the university intentionally caused him emotional stress, that his constitutional rights were violated. Farrer is asking for $75,000 dollars in damages, as well as reinstatement at Indiana University, with the incident completely removed from his records.

Farrer’s complaint claims that all of those listed as defendants 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.”

This case is another piece of an ongoing argument over how sexual assault cases should be handled at the university level. Currently, the standard of proof in these cases is different at universities than it is in the U.S. legal system—schools can expel someone if it's more likely than not that they committed an assault. In criminal court, however, guilt has to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. That's a much harder standard to meet.

“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,” said Margie Smith-Simmons, a spokeswoman for the school. “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.”