According to an Associated Press report, a George Mason University student who was suspended last September for violating the university’s sexual misconduct policy is now suing Mason in federal court under a pseudonym, claiming that the encounter with a girlfriend was sadomasochistic role play.
On Friday, April 3, WTOP reported that District Judge T.S. Ellis III gave no final decision as to whether the former student could sue under the pseudonym after Mason demanded he be publicly identified.
According to the WTOP report, associate university counsel and Assistant Attorney General David Drummey said that there was nothing to show that this type of sexual practice is atypical or “sensitive and highly personal” information that would warrant anonymity.
Judge Ellis III called the magistrate’s decision to grant the anonymous filing as “unfair” and “wrong” because it did not allow for soliciting feedback for all parties involved.
According to the WTOP report, the former student’s lawyer Justin Dillon argues that by revealing his client’s name, it will only tarnish his reputation even more by tying him to details of rape and sadomasochistic encounter with his former girlfriend.
From the AP report, according to the ex-student, he and his former girlfriend participated in sadomasochistic role play which involved announcing a safe word if they wanted to stop. The original incident is from an October 2013 encounter in his Fairfax campus dorm room where the woman pushed him away but did not say the safe word. Later that night, they committed another sex act, but upon asking if she was interested, she replied “I don’t know.”
The couple was romantically involved for several months, according to the AP report, but they broke up after she discovered he was cheating on her to which she then filed the lawsuit. He was cleared of any wrongdoing by Mason in September after trying to determine whether the university’s code of student conduct was violated. Upon appeal by the woman, Assistant Dean of Student Conduct Brent Ericson overturned the ruling and expelled the male student.
“The only explanation for such a rash, unreasoned and unsupported decision is Mr. Ericson’s desire to help a complaining female when the system had found a respondent male not responsible,” wrote the legal representatives of the student.
According to the AP report, the new lawsuit by the ex-student is alleging that his expulsion was a result of gender bias and violated his right to engage in a constituonally protected sex act. He wants the violation removed from his record and also $3 million in damages.
Fourth Estate will have report updates on this story as it develops.
Featured image credit: Erika Eisenacher