public hatred, ridicule, embarrassment and contempt causing him to suffer much damage to his reputation, mental anguish, loss of sleep and appetite and his ability to earn income.
The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights would like to pretend there’s no lasting consequences when a person is falsely identified as a rapist – a situation made much likelier by its 2011 “guidance” to colleges.
Sacred Heart University can’t pretend any longer.
As part of a legal settlement, the Connecticut Catholic school has publicly apologized to a local man for wrongly putting his name and photo on leaflets it distributed after a reported off-campus rape, the Connecticut Post reports.
The other settlement terms are confidential in the $1 million defamation lawsuit against Sacred Heart by 29-year-old Gary Douglas:
“We realize you had no involvement whatsoever in that incident and regret that your photograph was mistakenly displayed by security at the University. We wish you the best of luck in all your future endeavors.”
Douglas was never a suspect in the reported rape; the man now facing trial was “clearly identified” in campus surveillance video, illustrating the school’s “negligent, reckless and intentional conduct in falsely accusing the plaintiff,” Douglas’s lawsuit said.
The school blamed a public safety employee for putting Douglas’s name, photo and car on the leaflet with the warning “Do not allow the suspect on campus.” It did not explain how the mistake was made.
But according to Douglas’s lawsuit, when he asked Sacred Heart to retract the leaflets a full 25 days after it first issued them, the university refused, subjecting him to