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Jury Awards $26,500 to Former Sewanee Student in Case Arising From Alleged Rape

A former student who accused Sewanee: the University of the South of injuring his reputation and who sued the Tennessee institution for millions of dollars will see just $26,500 in compensatory damages. That’s because a federal jury in Chattanooga, Tenn., today ruled in favor of the anonymous former student in a negligence case he brought against the university, but found “John Doe” 47 percent responsible for the negligence himself. The former student accused Sewanee of mishandling a disciplinary hearing that followed a female student’s 2008 allegation that he had raped her. A faculty panel found the former student responsible for rape, but he never faced criminal charges. In a court document explaining the verdict, the jury ordered the university to pay $50,000 to cover the former student’s tuition and other expenses, but reduced it based on his responsibility for the negligent hearing. The jury awarded him no money for his claim of injury to reputation, injury to earning capacity, and other charges. The university said in a statement that the former student had received a fair hearing under its disciplinary process.

The Chronicle will have a more in-depth account of the verdict, with expert commentary, later.

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