Domestic Violence False Allegations

New Incentives to Falsely Accuse in NY

NY Adds a New Factor to Consider for Equitable Distribution: Domestic Violence

On April 3, 2020, tucked away in a bill largely addressing the New York State budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, the Legislature amended Domestic Relations Law (DRL) §236B(5)(d) by adding a new factor a court must consider in distributing property between divorcing spouses. 2020 NY Senate-Assembly Bill S-7505-B, A-9505-B. The law adds domestic violence as a factor and mandates that the court consider “whether either party has committed an act or acts of domestic violence, as described in [Social Services Law §459-a] against the other party and the nature, extent, duration and impact of such act or acts.” DRL §236B(5)(d)(14).

As admirably well-intentioned as this amendment is, it represents a significant departure from current law, which, absent “egregious” misconduct, has principally been fault-neutral since the advent of equitable distribution 40 years ago. It will have repercussions for the courts, practitioners, and litigants.


Domestic Violence Press Release

AG Eric Holder Needs to Put an End to Domestic Violence Myths


Contact: Teri Stoddard, 301-801-0608,

WASHINGTON / February 22, 2011 – Attorney General Eric Holder is being called upon to correct a false statement he made about partner abuse, and to set up a task force empowered to review and correct all erroneous domestic violence claims that appear on the DoJ website. The request comes from Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
(SAVE), a victim rights group working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence:

At a Domestic Violence Awareness Month event, Attorney General Eric Holder made this claim: “Intimate partner homicide is the leading cause of death for African-American women ages 15 to 45.”
But a February 4 USA Today article by Christina Hoff Sommers reveals Holder’s claim is wrong. The leading causes of death for these persons are heart disease, cancer, and accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:

“It’s hard to understand why Attorney General Holder is condoning false information on the Department of Justice website,” according to SAVE spokesperson Dr. Claudia Cornell. “Misleading claims give rise to policies that leave abuse-reduction programs ineffective, and in the case of mandatory arrest policies, place victims’ lives at risk.”

Hoff Sommers will headline a press conference to be held in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 24. The event will analyze Attorney General Holder’s claim, as well as other domestic violence myths that have been repeated so often that the American
public has come to accept them as true. Panelists at the press conference will include Philip Cook, author of Abused Men, and
Carl Starling, a victim of domestic violence who was falsely accused by his wife. SAVE recently released a report that shows how often programs fail to provide a truthful depiction of the problem of partner abuse. The analysis concludes that nine out of 10
training, education, and public awareness programs fail to meet minimum standards of objectivity:

Each year the federal government spends $76 million for domestic violence training, education, and public awareness programs. Few of these programs are required to meet quality assurance standards.

The press conference will be held 12:00 – 1:30pm at the Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Ave, NE, Washington, DC. Media representatives who wish to attend the conference, or to interview Christina Hoff Sommers or other panelists, can register here: .

False Allegations Press Release

Maine Prosecutor Coddles Known Child Abuser In Pursuit of False Rape Claim

Teri Stoddard: 301-801-0608

WASHINGTON, March 30 / P.R. Newswire / Victim advocacy group Stop Abusive
and Violent Environments (SAVE) has filed a Grievance Complaint with the
Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, requesting the disbarment of assistant
district attorney Mary Kellett. The Complaint can be seen here:
“Thanks to prosecutor Kellett, proven child abusers in Maine know they can
get a free pass by making a claim of rape,” explains Philip W. Cook, SAVE
spokesman. “Mary Kellett has prosecuted many innocent citizens on
allegations of domestic violence and rape. The Board of Overseers of the Bar
needs to disbar prosecutor Kellett immediately.”
The case arose from the accusations of Ligia Filler, a proven child abuser
with a previous criminal charge history. “The children were victims of
violence from their mother,” including hitting her oldest daughter with
spatulas and spoons, according to a December 3, 2009 Ellsworth (Maine)
District Court ruling. One son said that his mother “would hit everyone in
the house. She was a terror to everybody.”
After Ligia’s husband Vladek indicated his plan to leave the marital home
for the safety of the children, Ms. Filler had an apparent mental
break-down, running through the streets partially clothed, screaming death
threats at police officers on the scene.
Ligia made an allegation of marital rape, and within few days prosecutor
Mary Kellett filed charges. No forensic, medical, or other physical evidence
of sexual assault was presented during the trial. Assistant district
attorney Kellett repeatedly sought to bar the introduction of key evidence
that would serve to exonerate the defendant.
Court-appointed attorney Neil Fishman later commented the proceeding was so
flawed that it resembled a “Salem Witch Trial.” On September 9, 2010 the
Maine Supreme Court issued a ruling that found Kellett had “improperly
encouraged the jury to use the absence of evidence regarding the marriage
ending and a child custody dispute…as a reason to reject Filler’s
defense.” The case was remanded for a retrial in May.
More information on the case can be seen at

Press Release

Rape Accusation a ‘Fabrication, ’ Says Former Natalee Holloway Investigator

Contact: Teri Stoddard, 301-801-0608,

WASHINGTON / April 5, 2011 – The former lead investigator of the high-profile Natalee Holloway case is now calling for Maine prosecutors to drop their 4-year-old case against Vladek Filler. TJ Ward, a lead investigator in the Natalee Holloway case in Aruba, has concluded the original allegation was a “fabrication” and believes continued prosecution of the innocent man would be “malicious.”
In a recent radio interview, Ward ticked off a long list of irregularities in the case involving an allegation of rape that was made in the course of a marital break-up. The accuser had a well-known psychiatric condition. She refused the rape kit that the doctor offered to use. During the trial, the prosecutor provided no medical or forensic evidence. Worse, the prosecutor wrongfully blocked the introduction of evidence that would have served to prove Mr. Filler’s innocence. The exculpatory evidence included evidence that the accuser was a known child abuser, that she had a record of prior criminal charges, and that the defendant had requested a restraining order to protect him and his children from her abusive behavior. Ward also highlighted that the state Department of Health and Human Services had sided
with Mr. Filler by recommending he continue to have custody of the children. But Kellett sought to bar that fact, as well.
“It’s just a shame that this gentlemen…has come here to the United States, the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave, and is experiencing this type of behavior, when he’s been exonerated, when he’s not guilty with what he’s charged with, and they’re
continuing to hound this man and run him into the ground.”
The State of Maine’s prosecution of Vladek Filler has attracted international media attention. In December, the state Supreme Court criticized assistant district attorney Mary Kellett for prosecutorial misconduct and ordered a retrial. The case is scheduled to be
heard May 23-26 in Ellsworth Superior Court, Maine.
The interview of TJ Ward can be heard here:

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is now calling for the immediate dismissal of all charges against Mr. Filler:

False Allegations Press Release

SAVE Offers Condolences Following the Tragic Death of Reginald Daye, Victim of Duke

Lacrosse Accuser
Teri Stoddard, 301-801-0608

WASHINGTON / April 18, 2011 – Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) is offering its condolences to the family and friends of Reginald Daye. “Reggie” Daye, 46, succumbed April
13 after girlfriend Crystal Mangum stabbed him in the chest with a kitchen knife. Mangum is the woman who falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of rape in 2006. Daye’s nephew said the couple had been arguing over rent money. The argument got so heated
that someone called police who made a visit to the apartment, but left before the stabbing incident occurred. Mangum is being held on a $300,000 bond. “Reggie” Daye was born on November 3, 1964 in Durham, North Carolina. He was employed by Scotts Painting and Decorating Company. His hobbies included painting, fishing, and cheering on the Dallas Cowboys. Last December Mangum was convicted on most of the charges related to a February, 2010
domestic dispute in which police said she threatened to stab her then boyfriend Milton Walker. Mangum smashed a car windshield, slashed car tires and allegedly set Walker’s clothes on fire while her children were in the home. Mangum spent 88 days in jail for the offenses,
which also included three counts of child abuse. In 2006 Mangum falsely claimed Duke lacrosse players Dave Evans, Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann trapped her in a bathroom during a party, then raped and sexually assaulted her. Prosecutor Mike Nifong indicted the three on charges of rape, sexual assault and kidnapping. The case fell apart, but not before the university ended the lacrosse team’s season and forced the coach to resign.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday, April 19, at 1:00 pm at Union Baptist Church in Durham,
NC. Persons can sign the Guest Book or send a Sympathy Card here:

Domestic Violence

Need to Remove $40M ‘Pork’ for Transitional Housing

Does Repeating a Lie 1,000 Times Make it the Truth?

Need to Remove $40M ‘Pork’ for Transitional Housing

Coalition to End Domestic Violence

December 23, 2020

On March 23, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence issued an Alert with this startling coronavirus claim: “Survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault are facing extreme danger and risk.”

Even though the Alert did not provide any evidence to support its claim, the CARES Act, signed into law just four days later, included $45 million for transitional housing for domestic violence victims.

But the predicted abuse catastrophe never happened. Four separate studies concluded that overall, there was no increase in domestic violence, and some cities saw a significant decrease:

  1. The National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice concluded, based on reports from 13 cities, “No significant change in domestic violence over the previous year.”[1]
  2. The Marshall Project found declines in domestic violence cases in Chicago, IL, Austin, TX, and Chandler, AZ, ranging from 13% to 23%.[2]
  3. The Coalition to End Domestic Violence compiled police reports from 33 police departments around the country, which revealed steady numbers of domestic violence calls in 19 departments, small increases in three departments, and decreases in 11 jurisdictions.[3]
  4. The Major Cities Chiefs Association reported a 16% decline in rapes in large cities during the first 9 months of 2020, compared to 2019.[4]

Despite these reports, countless media accounts continued to promote the COVID-abuse myth, sounding the constant alarm of an imminent “spike” in domestic violence and sexual assault. Even lawmakers were fooled by the hoax.[5]

The credibility of the claims was cast into further doubt because they never mentioned the existence of the 4.2 million male abuse victims, compared to 3.5 million female victims, each year (based on CDC numbers).

The bill that was approved by Congress on Monday included $40 million for transitional housing (page 168).

Commentator Corrine Barraclough reveals, “The myth that domestic violence is surging in lockdown will become one of the biggest lies the gendered narrative leans on for additional funding.”[6]

We can’t allow this pernicious lie to continue. Congress needs to remove the $40 million for this wasteful domestic violence program.









Press Release Victims Violence Violence Against Women Act

Press Release: Anti-Violence Bill Loses Focus on Victims, Many Claim


Contact: Teri Stoddard

Anti-Violence Bill Loses Focus on Victims, Many Claim

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 — A growing number of groups, including Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, are criticizing the proposed reauthorization bill of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for losing sight of the law’s original intended purpose: to help victims of domestic violence. These concerns were highlighted during the recent February 2 meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Concerned Women for America, the largest women’s organization in the country, noted in a February 1 group letter that the Leahy-Crapo bill will “actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims.”

Victim-advocacy group Survivors in Action decries what it calls the “DV run-around” in which victims are shunted from hotlines to shelters to social service agencies, never receiving the services they need.

Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, deplored the fact that VAWA bill S. 1925 “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims.” (1)

Even Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy acknowledged criticism that the VAWA bill is “trying to protect too many victims.” Following debate, Sen. Leahy’s proposed bill was approved by a slim 10-8 margin and was forwarded to the full Senate for consideration.

Vague and over-broad definitions of abuse found in the current law undermine key Constitutional protections for the accused, as well:

“If we want to stop the cycle of violence and help real victims, the Violence Against Women Act must rein in sweeping definitions, improve accountability, and recognize that women are as likely as men to be physically abusive with their partners,” explains SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook.

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is proposing consideration of the Partner Violence Reduction Act (2), which accords priority to persons with evidence of physical violence.

Congressman Ted Poe, co-chair of the Victim’s Rights Caucus, has suggested changing the name of VAWA to the Domestic Violence Act, in order to recognize that partner abuse affects members of both sexes (3).

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner abuse:


Accountability Campus Civil Rights Department of Education Title IX

Biden’s Pushing Ahead to the Obama Past on Campus Rape. He’ll Need Good Luck With That.

By Richard Bernstein, RealClearInvestigations

Earlier this year, President Trump’s often embattled Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, established new rules on handling sexual assaults on campus to strengthen protections for accused students, almost all of them men.

Joe Biden, who was the Obama administration’s point man for the policies DeVos upended, has made his displeasure clear.

“The Trump Administration’s Education Department … is trying to shame and silence survivors,” the Biden campaign platform declared. “Instead of protecting women,” it has “given colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their civil rights.”

To “stand with survivors,” Biden has promised not only to restore a set of Obama-era “guidelines” to combat so-called campus “rape culture” – with compliance a condition of federal dollars – but to add to them. As president, his campaign literature states, he would push for legislation creating, among other things, “online, anonymous sexual assault and harassment reporting systems.”

But as he works to restore and expand a “believe women” approach to sexual assault that DeVos and others criticized as a presumption of male guilt, Biden will face much more serious headwinds than the Obama guidelines did when first introduced in 2011.

In developments barely reported in the mainstream media, hundreds of colleges and universities across the country have run into a legal thicket as they’ve implemented the original guidelines. There has been a flood of lawsuits, more than 600 of them, brought by accused men in both state and federal courts claiming that colleges used biased, one-sided and unfair proceedings when they them found guilty of sexual misconduct and punished them, mainly by suspensions and expulsions from their schools.

Notable is that around half of the lawsuits heard by the courts to date have met with rulings in favor of the accused men – in effect a validation of the Trump-DeVos effort to protect the due-process rights of accused men and a rebuke to the Obama-Biden approach.

Then there is the matter of the Supreme Court, reconstituted with a conservative majority by President Trump’s three justice appointments — including Amy Coney Barrett. Before her elevation a few months ago, she was central in in what some lawyers view as a landmark case, Doe v. Purdue, when a federal appeals court found that Purdue University may have discriminated against a male student on the basis of sex, believing his female accuser’s version of events while barring the young man from presenting evidence on his own behalf.

“It is plausible,” the court said in its unanimous decision written by Barrett, that Purdue “chose to believe Jane because she is a woman and to disbelieve John because he is a man.”

“A real battle is shaping up,” Andrew Miltenberg, the lawyer who brought the case against Purdue, said in a Zoom interview. “On the one hand, you have Biden, the moving force behind the 2011 Obama policies who will attempt to roll back some of the regulations put into place under Trump, so we’re going to be revisiting due process and related matters, like investigations, hearings, and appeals.”

“At the same time,” Miltenberg, widely viewed as a pioneer in this emerging field of law, continued, “you have a clear majority on the Supreme Court who will be sympathetic to the plight of young men accused of sex assault and who haven’t had an equitable opportunity to be heard. And you have Supreme Court Justice Barrett, who’s written the most significant decision on the matter to date. It’s setting up an interesting and potentially volatile dynamic.”

Lawyers expect that as Biden strives to return to the Obama-era policies, confusion will abound as high schools, colleges, and universities try to figure out what set of policies they should follow because it would probably take years to rescind and replace the Trump/DeVos rules.

But it seems almost inevitable that the Biden administration will return to beliefs about sexual assault long advanced by feminists and the campus left. The very Biden vocabulary – the use of the term “survivor” rather than the more neutral “alleged victim” or simply “plaintiff” – is telling. It illustrates an inclination to assume, as Barrett found the Purdue administrators to have done, that sexual assault accusations should take priority over any contrary arguments or even evidence presented by the accused student.

Biden’s past statements indicate an acceptance of the “rape culture” ideology, the belief that, as one feminist website puts it, “sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture,” and that the deeply embedded misogyny of patriarchal culture requires extraordinary measures to combat – a vision of society rejected by its critics as wild exaggeration.

“We need a fundamental change in our culture, and the quickest place to change culture is to change it on the campuses of America,” Biden said in a 2015 speech at Syracuse University.

Biden was especially blunt in a 2017 speech at George Mason University when he said, “Guys, a woman who is dead drunk cannot consent — you are raping her,” a statement suggesting but then dismissing the ambiguities that often cloud sexual assault claims, including the common presence of alcohol, and differing and changing recollections.

Biden ardently supported the Obama administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter introducing the guidelines to college administrators, even though from the outset there were strong objections to some of its provisions. Among them, the letter encouraged schools to use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof in deciding sex assault cases, rather than the more stringent “clear and convincing evidence” standard, which had been commonly in use in these cases before. A “preponderance of the evidence” is the lowest standard used to legal proceedings, requiring only that an accusation be seen as more than 50% likely to be true.

The Obama guidelines also permitted a “single adjudicator model,” whereby the person responsible for handling the case does both the investigation into the facts and makes the judgment of the accused person. This person is more often than not the Title IX coordinator on campus, Title IX being the 1972 law that banned sex discrimination in education, generally seen as an effort to advance women’s rights.

The guidelines also left it up to schools whether to hold live hearings, at which accused students could present exculpatory evidence, call witnesses, or cross-examine the students accusing them. Some court decisions that have gone against colleges have found that some sort of live hearing and some sort of questioning of accusers is necessary for a fair outcome.

“We did see some bad cases in the Obama era, cases where it basically didn’t matter what evidence there was,” Jackie Gharapour Wernz, a lawyer who worked in the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights in both the Obama and Trump administrations, said in a Zoom interview. “The college was going to find against the defendant, the male defendant, no matter what.  I think the schools felt pressure under the Obama guidance.”

Conservatives aren’t the only ones who have raised questions about the guidelines. The liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, whom Coney Barrett replaced upon her death this year, expressed misgivings about them in a 2018 interview, just when DeVos was announcing the new rules: “There’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system.”

Similarly, 28 Harvard Law School professors signed a letter in 2014 protesting the measures Harvard had adopted in response to the guidelines which, they said, “lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process” and “are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.”

The law professors complained that Harvard “decided simply to defer to the demands of certain federal administration officials rather than exercise independent judgment.”

A survey conducted by YouGov in mid-November showed 68% of the 2,532 Americans polled agreeing that “students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system.” Only 8% disagreed.

The DeVos rules, formally adopted in May after a two-year process of “notice and comment,” addressed the main complaints expressed about the Obama-era guidelines. Among other things, the DeVos rules require live hearings and the right of the accused, or usually his lawyer or adviser, to cross-examine the accuser; give schools the option to use “clear and convincing evidence” as their standard of proof; and narrow the concept of harassment.

Of course, no reasonable person condones sexual assault, or opposes punishing those genuinely guilty of it, but experts say it is often difficult to determine whether the activity was coercive or consensual.

“Probably 40 or 50% of allegations of sexual assault are baseless,” Brett A. Sokolow, the head of TNG, a risk management and consulting law firm who has served as an expert witness in many cases, said in a phone interview. “There are a lot of cases where someone says they were incapacitated, but the evidence doesn’t support that they weren’t able to make a decision.

“There’s also the education that schools provide,” Sokolow continued, “telling students that if you were drunk and somebody had sex with you, come to us.”

Sokolow estimates that over the years across the country some 20,000 or more students have been disciplined at their universities for sexual misconduct.

According to a data base posted on the “Title IX for All” website, some 676 lawsuits have been brought against universities by men claiming discrimination or due process violations against them, and 194 of those decided by the courts have met with a favorable outcome for the student plaintiffs.

Many cases that have gone against the universities have been settled out of court, 98 of them, according to KC Johnson, a history professor at Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Center in New York, who keeps track of the cases filed. This usually occurs after the school has lost its preliminary effort to have charges against it dismissed. But there have been two cases that have actually gone to trial, one involving a student suspended for alleged sexual misbehavior at Brown University, another at Boston College, one before a judge, the other a jury, and the students prevailed in both of them.

Johnson argues that courts are generally deferential to universities and reluctant to interfere in academic questions, which makes the substantial number of decisions in favor of the accused itself “quite remarkable.”

What’s also remarkable, as Johnson put it in a phone interview, is that “Biden has never acknowledged even a single one of these cases.”

Whether he recognizes them or not, any effort by Biden to formally rescind and replace the DeVos rules will take time, given that the DeVos rules were adopted after a lengthy, formal administrative process. By contrast, the Obama guidelines were a set of informal recommendations, taken seriously by schools because of the threat of financial penalties, but never having the status of formally adopted regulations.

A more difficult problem could well be that many of the court decisions issued so far presage difficulties for schools that adopt the very policies that a Biden administration is likely to favor.

Doe v. Purdue, for example, showed that schools could be found to be discriminating against accused men if they adopt a “start by believing” approach. As Barrett put it in her decision in which the parties were anonymized: “The majority of the [disciplinary] panel members appeared to credit Jane based on her accusation alone, given that they took no other evidence into account. They made up their minds without reading the investigative report and before even talking to John.”

The court in Doe v. Purdue didn’t address the question of cross-examination, required by the DeVos rules but likely to be made optional in a Biden program. But in several cases already decided, courts have affirmed that cross-examination, or, at least, some direct questioning of an accuser by the accused or his representative is fundamental to a fair procedure.

In a 2018 case, Doe v. Baum, for example, the University of Michigan expelled a male student after he was accused by a female student of having sex with her when she was too drunk to give consent.

The university expelled John after a three-person panel found that Jane’s account was “more credible” than his. John, who said the sex was consensual, sued, and a federal appeals court ruled in his favor, on the grounds that he had “never received an opportunity to cross-examine [Jane] or her witnesses.”

“When the university’s determination turns on the credibility of the accuser, the accused or witnesses, that hearing must include an opportunity for cross examination,” the court found.

In another recent case, Doe v. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a male student accused of sexual assault (the female complainant saying that she had been too intoxicated to give her consent) argued that the school’s use of the Obama guidelines rather than the stricter DeVos rules amounted to sex discrimination against him, and the court agreed. In other words, the court seemed to be saying that the DeVos rules could be applied retroactively to ongoing cases, even if they had been initially filed before the DeVos rules came into effect.

“There is no question that the decision increases the risk of legal challenges by respondents against their schools for using old procedures in ongoing or new cases,” Wernz wrote in a blog post.

The difference in these cases led one expert, Peter Lake, a professor of law at Stetson University and director of the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy to say, “Due process in higher education is becoming a ball of confusion – a mix of conflicting cases and regulations in flux.”

That is why some experts believe the matter is likely to end up at the Supreme Court. “Accused students have had appellate decisions in their favor in much of the country, but no general standard has been established, and there have been contrary decisions as well,” KC Johnson said.

“So my sense is that the Biden administration will construct a narrative around the decisions that have gone in favor of sexual misconduct accusers. It will be eager to confront the courts on this.”

If the issue does go to the Supreme Court, the case will be heard by two among the nine justices, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, whose confirmation hearings were dominated by accusations of sexual misconduct against them, which both angrily denied. The newest justice, Barrett, has already given a strong indication in her Doe v. Purdue opinion of how she might rule.

And then there’s the irony that Biden himself, though a “believe women” champion, has himself been accused of assault. Tara Reade, a former staffer, claims that some 30 years ago, when Biden was a senator, he pushed her against a wall in the Senate Office Building and digitally penetrated her, an incident that she recounted to friends at the time.

Biden has adamantly denied the accusation, saying that the alleged incident “never, never happened.”

Some experts certainly believe that if Biden were to undergo the sort of campus procedure that he advocated during the campaign, with a presumption in favor of the accuser, no live hearing, and no opportunity to present witnesses or to cross-examine Reade, he would most likely be found guilty.

Biden’s Pushing Ahead to the Obama Past on Campus Rape. He’ll Need Good Luck With That. | RealClearInvestigations

Department of Education Due Process Sexual Assault Title IX

To Protect Both Victims and the Accused, Biden Should Preserve Trump’s Title IX Reforms

By Buddy Ullman
December 14, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden has suggested that he will put a “quick end” to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’s rule that details how educational institutions must comply with Title IX, the transformative civil rights law that prohibits gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault in educational programs receiving federal financial assistance.

This is a terrible idea.

In 2011, the Obama administration under Biden’s leadership stipulated equivocal and mostly discretionary guidance to colleges and universities on Title IX (TIX) compliance and, in particular, how these institutions should adjudicate TIX disputes. The quasi-judicial proceedings that resulted generally lacked due process and free speech protections, were legally dubious and patently unfair toward the accused, and too often resulted in erroneous conclusions.

Some 669 court cases filed by accused students have resulted, for which the majority of judicial decisions rendered have been favorable to the plaintiffs, mostly on constitutional and fairness grounds. In a nutshell, the Obama/Biden TIX guidance created a mess, and the need for TIX compliance reforms emphasizing due process and other constitutional and civil liberties was compelling. These reforms were achieved in DeVos’s TIX compliance rule.

While a professor at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), I had the misfortune of experiencing Obama/Biden TIX guidance firsthand. I was a respondent in a duplicitous sexual harassment investigation, in which I wasn’t allowed to know the allegations against me or the identities of the complainants or witnesses; nor was I permitted to present witnesses on my behalf, to submit or review evidence, or to defend myself. What happened to me is not unusual for a respondent in a Title IX investigation.

Ultimately, I was found responsible for sexual misconduct and punished, only to learn ten months after my case was closed that the charges against me were complete fabrications and motivated by retribution. Notably, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights refused to intercede on my behalf because it concluded that OHSU had applied Obama/Biden era guidance appropriately. The DeVos rule, had it been operative at that time, would have precluded these shenanigans.

Ironically, President-elect Biden experienced multiple accusations akin to those faced by TIX respondents. In 2020, he was accused of sexual assault and numerous past incidents of inappropriate behavior toward women and girls but survived the ensuing storm because he was powerful, privileged, presumed innocent, and given a platform to defend himself.

Most TIX respondents aren’t so lucky. Had Biden walked in my shoes, he would have been prosecuted mercilessly under his own guidance.

Biden has not offered a persuasive rationale for voiding the DeVos rule other than a few platitudes about how the rule aims to “shame and silence survivors” and “gives colleges a green light to ignore sexual violence and strip survivors of their rights.” Survivors, Biden says, “deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and…. not silenced.” The DeVos rule does nothing of the sort: it ensures fairness, equitability, and impartiality when a sexual misconduct dispute requires investigation or resolution, something Biden’s own guidance did not.

Of greater concern, the President-elect does not appear to understand TIX’s purpose. TIX has nothing to do with sexual violence, survivorship, or campus safety issues. Rather, TIX is about equal educational access, which the DeVos rule protects admirably. The only time that sexual harassment or assault concerns TIX is when the misconduct secondarily affects participation in school programs and facilities.

The DeVos rule has proved controversial and partisan, but it shouldn’t be regarded that way. I am a liberal, progressive Democrat who finds little to like among DeVos’s educational policies, but her TIX rule is a meticulous, detailed, and well-considered nonpartisan document predicated on the U.S. Constitution, judicial precedent, and congressional intent. Emphasizing fairness and justice, the DeVos rule is far superior to the guidance that it supplanted. This Democrat can separate the message from the messenger.

Reverting to the Title IX compliance nightmare of the Obama/Biden era would be a major setback to the cause of fairness and due process. We can only hope that Biden doesn’t follow through.

Campus Sexual Assault Title IX

Will Biden Heed Support Shown for Accused Students’ Rights?


President-elect Biden and his team are preparing to bring what he has called a “quick end” to the new rules requiring fair, nondiscriminatory campus procedures for students accused of sexual assault that the Betsy DeVos Education Department issued in May.

But the results of a little-noticed but stunning poll suggest that on this issue, Biden is far out of step with the electorate, not to mention the courts and fundamental fairness. In one major survey, 68% of the 2,532 Americans polled in mid-November by YouGov agreed that “students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system.” Only 8% disagreed. The rest neither agreed nor disagreed.

The responses to this and the poll’s four other questions show broad public support for providing accused students with civil liberties protections even more robust than those required by the DeVos rules. Four other surveys since 2017 have also found strong support for campus due process.

Meanwhile, federal and state court judges across the country, including appointees of Presidents Clinton and Obama and their predecessors, have severely criticized many aspects of the campus sexual assault regimes imposed by most universities under pressure from the Obama-Biden administration, student activists, and many of their own professors and bureaucrats.

Accused students have won at least 194 favorable rulings in state and federal courts, including four federal appeals courts that expressed this summer “concerns that universities, however well-intentioned, had discriminated against an accused student on account of his sex, in violation of Title IX,” as KC Johnson has reported.

But the opinions of the electorate and of the courts are apparently less important to Biden than the fervor of the powerful interest groups that presume male guilt – Democratic legislators, accusers’ rights groups, university leaders, radical feminists, and more. Biden has personally bad-mouthed the DeVos rules, which leading civil libertarians have praised, as aiming “to shame and silence survivors” and “strip [them] of their rights.”

Biden led the Obama administration drive to require colleges to deny accused students a meaningful chance to defend themselves, thereby dramatically increasing the risk they’d be found guilty, even if they were actually innocent. The administration “threatened to withdraw federal funding from schools that resisted these directives, ‘strongly’ discouraging cross-examination and urging colleges to handle Title IX cases without a hearing and through a ‘trauma-informed’ approach that presented virtually any behavior as consistent with the accused student’s guilt,” as Johnson wrote.

It does not appear that the bias of Biden and other Democratic politicians against accused males has cost them much politically, perhaps because the mainstream media have largely ignored the issue. The new poll strongly suggests that most Americans support even more protections for possibly innocent accused students than are required by the DeVos rules and by many court decisions.

YouGov, which is highly respected across the political spectrum, conducted the poll on behalf of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), a little-known nonprofit that has been very active in supporting the DeVos reforms adopted for campus sexual assault proceedings. While SAVE’s agenda is no secret, its president, Edward Bartlett, pointed out in an interview that the five questions SAVE told YouGov to use in the November poll were taken almost verbatim from five of the questions that YouGov had included in a broader survey of 1,200 people conducted on behalf of Bucknell College in July-August 2017, with similar results.

In addition to the overwhelming majority of respondents who agreed that colleges should afford accused students the same civil liberties protections as the court system – that is, more protections than have ever been required even by the DeVos rules or by any court – the responses to the poll’s four other questions also show strong support for fairness to accused students.

A strong plurality (49%) of respondents agreed that students accused of sexual assault on college campuses “should have the right to cross-examine their accusers,” while 24% disagreed and 27% neither agreed nor disagreed.

Biden and many other Democrats have vowed to ban any cross-examination of accusers. The DeVos rules require campuses to allow representatives of accused students, but not the students themselves, to conduct a cross-examination. Some court decisions would also subject accusers to direct cross-examination by the accused.

Three-fourths of respondents to the YouGov poll agreed that “students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should be punished only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they are guilty of a crime.” Only 5% disagreed. (The DeVos rules would generally allow colleges to find accused students guilty by a lower burden of proof, “preponderance of the evidence,” and very few if any colleges require more.)

More than four out of five respondents agreed that “students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should have the right to know the charge against them before being called to defend themselves.” (The DeVos rules require colleges to give accused students the same right.)

And when asked “which, if either, of these [two] statements comes closest to your own opinion,” 67% said that “allegations of sexual assault on campus should be primarily handled by the state or local police.” Only one-third said that “universities should take a leading role” in investigating such allegations.” (In reality, almost all universities routinely take a leading role in such cases.)

Will Biden heed public opinion on this issue? He never has. And he has never given the slightest weight to the possibility that some accused men may be innocent — with one exception. That was Biden’s denial of the unverified allegations by his former aide Tara Reade, who has claimed that the then-senator sexually assaulted her in 1993.

Weak as Reade’s allegations are, chances are that under the guilt-presuming regime that Biden plans to reinstitute, hundreds of college students facing equally weak allegations will be expelled by campus kangaroo courts. A man who has paid as much attention to campus sexual assault as Biden must know that.

Stuart Taylor Jr. is co-author, with KC Johnson, of “The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities” (Encounter, 2017).

Will Biden Heed Support Shown for Accused Students’ Rights? | RealClearPolitics