The Duke Kangaroo Court for Making Males into Rapists

Duke University uses kangaroo court proceedings to find student guilty of rape.

gavel scales law books

I have been curious what would happen at Duke University if a young woman got a man drunk in order to have sex with him. Would she be found guilty of rape? Well now I have a good idea of the answer thanks to this blog post by K. C. Johnson,  a history professor at Brooklyn College and the City University of New York Graduate Center:

As explained under oath by a Duke dean, if sexual intercourse occurs between two equally intoxicated people, neither of whom can give consent, the male student is a rapist.

So I guess if only the male student is drunk, then no rape has occurred.

[See also, “Rape Culture on Campus Overblown.”]

It also seems that a man can be convicted of rape without even getting to cross-examine his witnesses. According to K. C. Johnson:

The school lost in court last year, in a case filed by Lewis McLeod, whom Duke had branded a rapist after a highly dubious procedure. McLeod obtained a temporary restraining order that prevented Duke from moving ahead with expulsion, but his overall status was left in limbo, awaiting a trial this year. McLeod’s attorneys have sought to amend their complaint; its contents reveal new troubling items about how Duke handled the case.

The issue in the McLeod case was the accuser’s level of intoxication. Three housemates of McLeod observed the accuser and did not consider her intoxicated, slurring her words, or unable to form rational thought. The accuser filed a case with the Durham Police, but that investigation was closed—suggesting a lack of probable cause for her complaint. Yet Duke, after a slipshod investigation, would find McLeod culpable, on grounds that suggest indifference to Title IX’s obligation of no gender discrimination. […]

The amended complaint adds defendants, bringing into the lawsuit against Duke’s disciplinary czar, Dean Stephen Bryan, and the “independent” investigator hired by Duke to handle sexual assault cases, Dr. Celia Irvine. I’ve written about Irvine previously; though she worked for the NYPD, she did so as a psychologist and appears not to have investigated any sexual assault cases, or any other criminal cases for that matter. Irvine did not respond to a request for comment about her background.

Irvine’s centrality to the amended lawsuit is explosive in its details, but also important for broader concerns. Universities—under pressure from the federal government—have moved toward the single-investigator model; Harvard did so this summer, and UVA’s proposed new procedures will ensure that future complaints, such as Jackie from the Rolling Stone story, will only need to convince an investigator of their veracity. (Duke’s procedures don’t go this far, in that Duke retains a hearing, but as the complaint makes clear, Irvine’s report essentially decided the case.) Yet as universities have turned over their inquiries to a single investigator, they have been extremely reluctant to release the guidelines they’ve used to hire investigators, the terms under which those investigators operate, or even the names of the investigators themselves. The McLeod case is a rare instance in which outsiders have been allowed behind the curtain to see how these “independent” investigators operate.

Irvine’s conduct appears particularly troubling in light of information presented in the amended complaint. It turns out that North Carolina law requires people serving as private investigators to have conducted 300 hours of training; no evidence exists that Irvine ever had such training. It’s unclear whether Duke knew about Irvine’s training level.

Irvine’s investigative technique was—to put it mildly—odd. Though the key issue in the case was the accuser’s level of intoxication, Irvine never contacted neutral witnesses—employees of the bar where McLeod and the accuser met, the taxi driver who drove McLeod and the accuser to McLeod’s off-campus residence. The “investigator” also chatted with the witnesses she did seek out over the phone. (Though Irvine is based in Chapel Hill, it takes less than 30 minutes to drive to Durham, even on a day with heavy traffic.) Irvine then presented summaries of her exchanges with witnesses, without turning over to the hearing committee (or McLeod) the transcripts of her interviews.

The case only gets crazier. At the so-called “hearing” McLeod had no recourse to question Irvine’s claims because Irvine was never there. She simply turned in her written report and never had the burden of facing the man she was accusing on such a flimsy pretext.

There is even more craziness recited in the blog post. I don’t have space for it all here. It is important to realize that these methods are fully approved and are being heavily pushed by the Federal Government. We are seeing our university system being remolded as a place of Stalinesque show-trials.

How do you think the Obama Administration would like to transform our court system in cases of gender conflict or perhaps race conflict?

When George Will tried to point out the insane policy of the Feds on this matter, he was treated like a rape apologist by Liberals and self-righteously expelled from my local St. Louis newspaper.

Duke is not an anomaly; it is a pattern. As Robby Soave writes at Reason.com: “These miscarriages of justice are staggering, and yet they are common features of nearly every university rape investigation I have come across.”