Lawsuit: Ex-Vanderbilt Student Wrongly Accused Of Assault

Posted at 12:08 PM, May 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-17 20:26:50-04

A former student has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Vanderbilt University claiming he was wrongfully accused of sexual assault.

The lawsuit was filed May 5 and claimed Vanderbilt discriminates against men who are accused of sexual assault by women. It claimed the student, identified only as "Z.J.," was expelled three days before his expected graduation. As a result, Z.J. lost his ROTC scholarship and had to repay $136,000 in tuition. He also lost his commission as an Army officer and wasn't awarded a degree.

The lawsuit said Vanderbilt didn't follow its own campus discipline policies and denied Z.J. the right to confront his accuser or offer his own witness in a hearing that concluded he assaulted a female student.

The lawsuit claimed Z.J. was "guilty until proven innocent" in the case.

"Essentially, what they're saying is the plaintiff has suffered damages as a result of the university's negligence and failure to comply with not only their only their own policy, but federal laws and state laws," said NewsChannel5 legal analyst Nick Leonardo.

Vanderbilt officials said in a statement that the school has been reviewing the lawsuit.

"I think that we're seeing a lot of college campuses being a little more sensitive to these sort of issues when they arise. They definitely want to make sure that it's handled in an appropriate fashion and timely," Leonardo said.

Plaintiff attorney Rob McKinney declined comment on the lawsuit.