Woman sues SMU after alleged rapist is acquitted

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Associated Press

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

DALLAS (AP) — A Southern Methodist University student who says she was raped in a campus dorm has sued both the school and the man she accused, seeking damages of more than $1 million.

The lawsuit comes after the student and her parents were sued for defamation by Donald Cuba, the man the student had accused of raping her. Cuba was acquitted of sexual assault in May and is seeking $450,000 in damages, The Dallas Morning News reported (http://dallasne.ws/1ffKx2R ).

Last year's jury found Cuba not guilty. The prosecution did not present physical evidence because the sheets and victim*s clothing had been washed and because she did not get a rape exam. Cuba*s defense questioned the victim's credibility.

The student claims she and her parents were sued as retaliation for reporting the rape to police and seeking disciplinary action through the university. The lawsuit says SMU is liable because they knew of a prior attack on another student by Cuba. The lawsuit also says Cuba was acquitted of the February 2012 attack in part because of inadequate procedures within SMU's disciplinary system.

An SMU spokesman said the university does not comment on pending litigation.

Both lawsuits are pending in federal court because the students are from different states and amount of damages requested. Court documents show Cuba's attorney is seeking to consolidate the lawsuits.

Michael Kelly, Cuba*s attorney, did not respond to the newspaper's calls.

Both students say the process to address the allegation was flawed and they received little or conflicting information from university officials.

Cuba's lawsuit says SMU "failed to conduct any, much less adequate, investigation into the underlying facts" and "fabricated rules and policies" for the female student's case. Cuba said the student falsely accused him of rape after the two had consensual sex, lied to investigators and sought to get him expelled from SMU.

Cuba successfully appealed a March 2012 university disciplinary board ruling that had found him responsible of misconduct and sexual assault.

The female student's lawsuit says the university failed to give her proper guidance. Court records include letters of concern she sent to SMU administrators complaining that she could not get answers to basic procedural questions, was not notified of Cuba*s appeal and was not told she could refer the case to the district attorney*s office.

The Dallas Morning News does not name victims of sexual assault.

Scrutiny by the Dallas County district attorney's office prompted SMU to appoint a task force to review sexual misconduct policies. Last spring, it issued a 41-point report recommending new efforts both in education and prevention, more sexual assault counselors and more ways for students to report campus crimes.

The university has implemented some of the recommendations and is requiring all incoming students to take a two-hour online course con sexual assault and substance abuse prevention.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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