A senior at Duke University who was banned from graduating after a school panel found him responsible for raping an "emotional" classmate has filed suit to get his degree so he can accept a "prestigious position" offered to him by a firm on Wall Street.
Lewis McLeod, a psychology major from Australia, says that, without his degree, his entire future is on hold.
According to the motion filed by Schwartz & Shaw of Raleigh, McLeod took a female Duke student back to his home on Nov. 14. McLeod alleges their sex was consensual and that the woman "got emotional" and began to cry.
McLeod's suit claims the victim filed complaints with the local police and the school and no charges were filed, though the Durham police said they had no record of the case. A university conduct panel eventually investigated and found McLeod guilty of sexual assault, expelling him just shy of graduation.
McLeod's 40-page complaint sounds like a list of stock complaints made by accused students about school-level sexual misconduct procedures:
McLeod's lawsuit describes a "sloppy investigation" that "violated Duke University's own written standards ... as well as all notions of fundamental fairness."...
A key argument is whether the alleged victim was so drunk as to unable to make a decision to have sex. McLeod says he and the woman were drinking together a Durham bar and took a cab together back to his house, where it was understood that they would have sex.
McLeod also questions the use of anonymous friends of the woman who provided testimony against him, while McLeod was not allowed to use his roommate as a witness.
McLeod is being represented by an attorney who also defended a Duke lacrosse player from allegations of sexual assault—allegations against many team members that were famously discredited after a lengthy public debate.
The ex-student claims there is urgency to his case because he has a job offer on the table from "a Wall Street firm," but only if he has a degree in hand:
If he can't start that job as planned in July, McLeod's lawyers wrote, "inability to actually assume employment in this prestigious position is substantially certain to negatively impact him forevermore."