Yale has settled a lawsuit filed by a former student — referred to as John Doe in court documents — accusing the University of unfairly expelling him over false sexual assault allegations in 2012.
Court documents show that a Hartford judge approved the settlement last week. The agreement did not include any payment or change in disciplinary action against the student, according to University spokesman Tom Conroy.
Without commenting on the specifics of the settlement, Gary Kurtz, one of Doe’s lawyers explained that settlements can entail apologies, money or anything else that the parties believe is important to their claims. Both Yale and Kurtz declined to comment on whether Doe received an apology from the University in the settlement.
Kurtz explained that he was “reluctant” to discuss specific terms of the agreement and that he rarely discusses the details of his clients’ settlements. But he added that Doe graduated from another university after his expulsion from Yale and therefore did not need to be readmitted to Yale.
Doe’s other lawyer, Frederick M. O’Brien, declined to comment.
According to court documents, Doe, who is Lakota Sioux, claims that his accuser, who is Navajo, filed false allegations of sexual assault against him in order to undermine Lakota Sioux power within the Native American Cultural Center. The NACC’s director at the time, Ted Van Alst, is also Lakota Sioux, and Doe claims that his accuser wanted to push out Van Alst, allowing Navajo students to consolidate power within the NACC. Van Alst did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening.
Alanna Pyke ’19 (Kanien’kéha) told the News that the Association of Native American Students at Yale and the NACC would not comment on this story. Director of the Native American Cultural Center Kelly Fayard did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening.
Van Alst left Yale in 2014 to take a job at the University of Montana. The lawsuit alleges that Van Alst was removed by the University because of his support for Doe.
Doe claims in court documents that he and his accuser did have sex in January 2012, but that it was consensual.
The case comes just weeks before litigation begins for Jack Montague’s case against Yale. The former basketball captain was expelled in 2016 over allegations of sexual misconduct and is suing the University in an effort to return to Yale.
Last month, Yale released Montague’s transcripts to allow him to enroll at Belmont University and finish his undergraduate degree. Montague’s spokeswoman Karen Schwartzmann declined to comment on any implications Doe’s settlement may have for Montague.
Asked whether Yale would offer a settlement to Montague, Conroy responded that he has no further comment on other litigation.
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