Student Accused Of Sexual Assault Sues Duke For Degree After He's Expelled

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Duke University student is suing after he was banned from attending his May 10 graduation ceremony because another student accused him of sexual assault.

Lewis McLeod was accused of taking a student home on Nov. 14 and having sex with her. The psychology major from Australia says it was consensual, but that the girl “got emotional” and started crying.

After an investigation by Duke University police and Durham police, McLeod was not charged with a crime. However, the Duke Office of Student Conduct launched its own investigation and found McLeod guilty of sexual assault. He was then expelled.

In the 40-page suit, McLeod called it a "sloppy investigation" that "violated Duke University's own written standards ... as well as all notions of fundamental fairness."

He says anonymous friends of the woman testified against him, but his own roommate was not allowed as a witness.

"Throughout the hearing, members of the panel and the Office of Student Conduct made decisions that prevented Mr. McLeod from presenting his side of the story, denied him his right to respond to allegations against him and denied him his right to a fair and impartial hearing," his attorneys wrote.

McLeod’s student visa expired at the end of the semester. He has a job offer with a firm on Wall Street, which would prevent him from having to leave the U.S., but the offer is contingent upon him graduating from Duke.

His lawyers wrote that his "inability to actually assume employment in this prestigious position is substantially certain to negatively impact him forevermore."

A Durham County Superior Court judge is considering his case.

Sources: WRAL, Independent Weekly