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After calling suicidal texts ‘dating violence,’ Notre Dame settles lawsuit by expelled student

University was on judge’s bad side from the start

It took a few months longer than predicted, but “John Doe” finally got a measure of justice in his battle with the University of Notre Dame.

The Catholic university settled the male student’s sex-discrimination lawsuit for expelling him for “dating violence” – the suicidal texts he sent to a former romantic partner.

The parties were having settlement discussions last summer, and Doe’s lawyer Peter Agostino told The College Fix then that the matter could be resolved by October.

The South Bend Tribune reports that Agostino filed documents in late December that said the parties “have reached an agreement in principle to fully resolve this lawsuit,” and that Doe and his accuser “Jane Roe” resolved their dispute as well. No details were given.

Notre Dame was facing a judge that had already let Doe take his final exams so he could graduate on time last spring.

The university’s Title IX investigation into Roe’s claims was severely lacking, according to Judge Philip Simon.

It missed the fact that after Roe filed her complaint, the parties had a “near daily discussion” that included sexually suggestive texts and pledges of love from Roe.

Roe also kept her text messages with Doe after they broke up and selectively released them to the investigator, showing only those that “placed John in a very bad light and without context,” according to Simon.

MORE: Notre Dame talks settlement with expelled student

Doe, by contrast, deleted Roe’s contact and hundreds of texts when they broke up. When he sought her full text stream in discovery, Roe thwarted the effort by dropping her request for a restraining order against him. The judge portrayed their constant texting as normal relationship behavior, not threatening as Notre Dame portrayed it.

The school was also facing reputational threats from Roe’s mother, who compared her daughter to a Notre Dame student who committed suicide after a football player allegedly raped her.

Notre Dame unsuccessfully sought to convince Simon that he wasn’t a “super appeals court” and couldn’t interfere in its disciplinary procedures, according to a transcript The Fix first obtained.

Transcript of April 28, 2017 preliminary injunction hearing in Doe v. Notre Dame (Title IX, due process) by The College Fix on Scribd

The Tribune describes the relationship between Doe and Roe as “intimate, but tumultuous,” with frequent breakups and reunions:

In June of 2016, Doe developed serious depression and struggled with suicidal thoughts. Roe also suffered from depression, according to court documents. On Nov. 28, 2016, Doe sent a break up text to Roe, “which was admittedly poorly worded and misconstrued by Jane as a suicide note,” the complaint reads.

Read the report and our prior coverage of the lawsuit.

MOREJudge blasts Notre Dame’s Title IX procedures in ruling for expelled male

MORELawsuit says vindictive claim of ‘dating violence’ led to expulsion

IMAGE: Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

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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.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.

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