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September 23, 2018

WAR ON MEN: Judge said Title IX official may have helped rape accuser lie. Ohio State just settled.

Ohio State University had terrible luck with U.S. District Judge James Graham over the past few years.

The day before Donald Trump’s election, the federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit against the public university by a student found responsible for sexual assault.

It claimed that the student’s hearing panel got “biased training” – dubious statistics about most men admitting to “sexually aggressive behavior” – and administrators hid “exculpatory evidence” from “John Doe,” including the suspicious timing of his accuser’s claim.

A year and a half later, Judge Graham hit a Title IX official with distressing news: She could be held personally liable for helping the accuser lie to the panel.

“A reasonable jury could find that Natalie Spiert” (below), a sexual violence support coordinator who served as advocate for “Jane Roe,” “knew or should have known that Jane Roe lied or misled the disciplinary board” and did not correct the record, the judge said in April. . . .

Spiert’s problems go beyond Graham’s rulings. Ohio State shut down her office, the Sexual Civility and Empowerment unit, and terminated its four employees including Spiert at the end of this school year.

It had been under internal investigation for two years before the university suspended the office in February, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

The Ohio Health Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio, known as SARNCO, told the university it had received reports that office staff “have written student conduct and other legal documents” and “told survivors they needed to embellish their stories.”

Documents reviewed by The Lantern found a “pattern of bullying, preferential treatment and lying” alleged against the office’s leaders, including Spiert, who had the title of assistant director when it closed.

A former support coordinator, Jill Davis, complained to the human resources office in 2016 that Spiert was “exaggerating her own abilities,” boasting she’d eventually run the office, falsely claiming she had received certain training and ignoring “evidence-based plans in lieu of her own experience” after finishing graduate school in 2015.

More troubling, Davis said Spiert told athletics coaches in a presentation that she knew they would “go home and beat their wives.”

Sadly, I don’t think she’s as much of an outlier in this field as I’d wish.