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Professor accused of rape after he won lawsuit against his ex beats charges, sues for defamation

Accuser kept losing in court before bringing out the rape claim

Anti-rape activists sometimes say that victims don’t make allegations against their abusers for months or years because they are still processing the events or fear they won’t be believed.

But sometimes there’s a clear chain of events that suggests a long-delayed allegation should be taken with a ton of salt.

That seems to be the case for accusations against University of Minnesota Law Prof. Francesco Parisi, a longtime “nominator” for the Nobel Prize in economics, who spent three weeks in jail before rape charges were dropped earlier this month.

The Star Tribune reports that Parisi’s ex-lover waited more than a year to accuse him of rape, after serially accusing him of progressively worse actions:

The two agreed to buy a condo in December 2014.

But the relationship soured in January 2015. By March, Parisi filed a lawsuit to cancel the purchase agreement. She filed an order for protection that same day, accusing him of preventing her from leaving his apartment and of yelling and screaming at her in January.

Early the next month she countersued him over the purchase cancellation attempt but made no mention of the alleged assault. In April 2015, the restraining order was dismissed following a settlement.

MORE: Brandeis branded gay student a rapist for awaking boyfriend with a kiss

Following two more property complaints against Parisi, his ex brought out the big guns, claiming in January 2016 that he beat her.

Only after he won that property battle five months later did she report to police that Parisi had raped her a year and a half earlier, before Parisi filed suit to cancel the condo purchase.

For some reason “that report was never forwarded for potential charges,” leading the ex to ask for another protection order in August, claiming he raped and stalked her. Yet again, they settled and the order was dismissed two months later.

Parisi’s name has been dragged through the mud for the past two years by an ex who appears to be out for revenge, but only two weeks ago did the district attorney drop the charges, saying there was no “probable cause” to support the ex’s allegations.

Now he’s suing her for defamation, and considering whether to add the DA for bringing spurious (some might say Nifongesque) charges:

Parisi said he has lost income and his reputation “has been irreparably damaged by the false and slanderous statements” made by his accuser …

“If nothing happens to her,” Parisi said of the suit and his accuser, “it would be a license for her and others like her … to harm someone out of vindictiveness or craziness, and to do so with immunity.” …

“This is not a matter of insufficient evidence. This is a matter of affirmative lies.”

It’s far from the first case we’ve seen where rape allegations that followed messy breakups or relationship jealousy had severe consequences for the accused.

In one egregious case, Brandeis University expelled a gay student after his ex-lover accused him of sexual assault over the course of their 21-month relationship. According to the expelled student, his ex only accused him after a mutual love interest had shown interest in him.

Fortunately for the expelled student, a federal judge last year refused to dismiss his lawsuit against Brandeis, casting doubt on the school’s entire approach to adjudicating rape allegations.

And even better for Parisi, the vindicated law professor, his middle-aged accuser couldn’t bring allegations against him in a college adjudication, where malicious prosecution is the norm.

MORE: Federal judge validates due-process suit against Brandeis by accused student

h/t Ashe Schow

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

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