This article has been updated to reflect the version that ran in print on Sept. 19.
Yale on Friday denied all charges brought by former men’s basketball captain Jack Montague, in its formal response to the lawsuit Montague filed against the University in June.
Montague, who was expelled in February for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policies, filed a lawsuit on June 9 alleging, among other things, that his expulsion represented a breach of contract, a violation of his rights under Title IX, breach of confidentiality and defamation.
The lawsuit’s three named defendants — the University, Deputy Title IX Coordinator Angela Gleason and Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator Jason Killheffer — each filed distinct responses, via lawyers Colleen Davis and Patrick Noonan from the local firm Donahue, Durham & Noonan, P.C. Taken together, the three responses deny each one of the 13 charges leveled in Montague’s original lawsuit.
In the documents, the defendants deny that Montague was “pilloried as a whipping boy,” as his lawyer Max D. Stern argued in a March statement announcing Montague’s intent to sue. Stern had alleged that Yale sought to make an example of Montague after a 2015 survey by the Association of American Universities revealed higher-than-average rates of sexual misconduct on Yale’s campus.
The defendants also denied that Montague’s accuser was coerced into filing a formal complaint against Montague.
“The defendant denies that Yale engaged in a battle to establish itself as an institution that takes accusations of sexual misconduct seriously,” the University’s response reads. “The defendant further denies that the plaintiff served as a poster boy for tough enforcement of the Sexual Misconduct Policies.”
Additionally, the responses disputed some of the facts laid out in Montague’s complaint.
Three of the 13 charges in the suit address the alleged disclosure of Montague’s prior disciplinary history: Montague claims that Gleason, the Title IX coordinator for Yale College students, improperly disclosed his disciplinary history to the student who brought the complaint against Montague, referred to as Jane Roe in the documents, in an effort to convince her to file a formal complaint.
Gleason admitted in her response that she informed Roe that a Title IX coordinator could file a formal complaint if Roe was willing to serve as a witness, but denied telling Roe that filing an informal complaint — which could not result in disciplinary action — was impossible due to Montague’s disciplinary history.
“The defendant denies that Ms. Gleason falsely informed Ms. Roe that the informal complaint process was foreclosed because of the plaintiff’s prior disciplinary history,” the University’s response said. “The defendant admits that Ms. Gleason expressed concern that the incident was serious and informed Ms. Roe that a Title IX Coordinator could file a formal complaint if Ms. Roe agreed to cooperate as a witness.”
Additionally, Killheffer, who ultimately filed the formal complaint, and Gleason both denied that they compelled Roe to move forward with a formal complaint.
The prior disciplinary history mentioned in the lawsuit refers to an incident identified in the suit as UWC I, which occurred at the end of Montague’s freshman year and required him to undergo sexual harassment and gender sensitivity training through the University’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response & Education Center.
In his suit, Montague alleges that the prior University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct complaint and its resulting discipline was “completely unrelated to ‘sexual assault,’ or even to sexual misconduct.” The incident in question refers to a night when an intoxicated Montague rolled up a paper plate from a pizza parlor and put it down the shirt of a female student; the lawsuit claims there was “nothing ‘sexual’ about that encounter,” and that the training Montague underwent “likewise had nothing to do with sex.”
The University said that a female student accused the plaintiff of rolling up a paper plate and shoving it down her shirt, but denied allegations that the complaint was erroneously taken to the UWC.
University spokesman Tom Conroy declined to provide additional comment, instead referring to a statement he released when the lawsuit was first filed that called the motion “factually inaccurate and legally baseless.” He also said at the time that the University would mount a “vigorous defense.”
The University’s response to Montague’s original complaint comes three days after Judge Alfred V. Covello released a scheduling order that projects the case will not go to trial until Feb. 1, 2018. Karen Schwartzman of Polaris Public Relations, who represents Montague and his attorney Max Stern, said they had no comment on the responses filed Friday.