The Santa Barbara Superior Court reversed the ruling in a UC Santa Barbara Title IX case on Oct. 9, stating UCSB’s hearing for the accused was “noticeably absent [of] even a semblance of due process.”
The case, John Doe v. University of California Regents, focuses on two students referred to as Jane Roe and John Doe in court documents.
Doe was officially suspended from UCSB in 2016 after Roe accused him of sexually assaulting her on June 26, 2015.
UCSB placed Doe on interim suspension beginning Sept. 16, 2015, while the school investigated Roe’s claim. He was officially suspended for eight quarters following a hearing from the Sexual/Interpersonal Violence Conduct Committee.
Two weeks ago, the SB Superior Court court found that Doe:
- was denied access to critical evidence – a copy of a report that described Roe’s alleged injuries following the assault – during the hearing;
- was denied the opportunity to “adequately cross-examine witnesses,” including Roe herself and Doe’s mother, among others;
- and was denied the opportunity to present evidence, such as information regarding Roe’s antidepressant medication, in his defense.
“It is ironic that an institution of higher learning, where American history and government are taught, should stray so far from the principles that underlie our democracy,” court documents read.
Doe will be rewarded some form of compensation, according to court documents.
This is the second reversal of a UCSB Title IX case the Nexus has reported on in recent months.
Roe said Doe sexually assaulted her that night at Doe’s girlfriend’s apartment. Doe’s girlfriend is referred to in court documents as Eyewitness One.
Roe had consumed wine, beer and mango margaritas that night and said she had felt “pretty drunk” and decided to sleep on the bottom bunk of a bunk bed in the apartment’s living room.
She stated she woke at an unknown time, “completely disoriented,” to an “intense, throbbing pain.”
Roe said she pretended to be asleep because she did not want a confrontation while her assaulter allegedly “unhooked [her] bra”; “suck[ed] and bit” her for several minutes; “[took] photos of her naked breasts” and repeatedly “penetrated [her] vagina and anus” with his fingers and/or penis.
She said she realized it was Doe when her assaulter stopped and got up from the bed, according to court documents.
Roe was medically examined by the Santa Barbara County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) two days after the alleged assault.
The SART report said there was “bruising and laceration noted in the anal area,” according to University of California Police Department (UCPD) Detective Dawn Arviso.
However, neither Roe nor the detective provided a full copy of the SART report with this information attached during the trial.
“The SART report was critical evidence,” court documents state. “At a minimum UCSB should have required the detective to provide a complete copy of the SART report.”
Roe’s story that night also conflicted with Eyewitness One’s report.
Following the alleged assault, Roe said Eyewitness One approached the bed and screamed when she saw that Roe’s “bottom half” was completely bare.
Eyewitness One testified over Skype that Roe was wearing a short-sleeve shirt and underwear when she got up from the bed, contradicting Roe’s claim. She also denied screaming.
The mattress was also absent of “any visible signs or smells of bodily fluids” consistent with anal or vaginal penetration, according to Eyewitness One.
Doe denied all of Roe’s accusations.
He said he arrived at the apartment at approximately 12:30 a.m. that night and was “very intoxicated.”
By Eyewitness One’s recommendation, he lay down, fully dressed, on the bottom bunk next to Roe because the top bunk was covered in luggage. He reportedly first heard about Doe’s allegations when she “woke [him] up by basically yelling about someone hurting her.”
He argued three main points in his defense:
- The distance between the couch and the bunk bed in the living room was too close for him to have done anything without being noticed by Eyewitness One and Eyewitness Two.
- He could not have unhooked Roe’s bra because his neurological disorder, a “form of palsy,” affects his motor skills when he is tired or drunk.
- Roe’s antidepressant medication, Viibryd, has side effects including hallucinations, sleep paralysis and night terrors, which can become severe when mixed with alcohol.
Doe was not allowed to include the antidepressant medication evidence in his defense because he did not have an expert present, according to court documents.
The SB Superior Court stated he was not given enough time to find an expert, again showing a lack of due process.
The full court documents can be viewed here.
Evelyn Spence harbors a great love for em dashes and runs on nothing but iced coffee, Jolly Ranchers and breaking news. Currently, she serves as the County News Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.