APNewsBreak: Brown grad who accused former classmate of rape sues student for contract breach
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A recent Brown University graduate who accused a former classmate of rape has sued the student and his parents for breach of contract.
The woman maintains William McCormick III raped her in September 2006, when both were Brown freshmen. McCormick said in a lawsuit last year that he was falsely accused of rape and that the Ivy League school allowed him to be pressured off campus, at least partly to appease the accuser's father — a Brown alumnus, major donor and fundraiser.
Rather than move forward with a disciplinary hearing, the two students signed a contract in October 2006 that was intended to resolve the case for good. McCormick agreed to immediately withdraw from school, stay at least 1,000 feet away from the woman and seek counseling — all while still maintaining his innocence.
McCormick and the woman agreed not to sue each other, discuss the agreement publicly or make disparaging comments about each other.
But McCormick, who just completed his junior year at Bucknell University, sued the accuser, her father and Brown last fall, alleging negligence and intentional infliction of distress, among other claims. The suit, which seeks unspecified monetary damages, is still pending. Brown officials have declined to discuss the case in detail, but a spokeswoman says the school acted properly.
The accuser filed a counterclaim Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence, accusing McCormick and his parents — who had also sued — of breach of contract by filing the lawsuit. She is seeking unspecified damages.
The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were sexually assaulted.
McCormick's lawyer, J. Scott Kilpatrick, said Tuesday that he did not consider the contract valid since no rape occurred. McCormick has also said he was pressured into signing the contract by the accuser's family and their lawyer. A lawyer for the family, Joseph Cavanagh, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Tuesday.
The woman alleged during the first week of classes in 2006 that McCormick was calling her obsessively and following her around — accusations Kilpatrick has called "exaggerations and half-truths" in court papers. The following week, she accused him of having raped her while she was studying in her dorm room.
The woman made the allegations to her resident adviser, who reported them to her superiors. The accusations were never reported to police.
The day after the rape accusations surfaced, McCormick — a high school champion wrestler on full scholarship from Waukesha, Wis., — was called into a meeting with campus officials, barred from campus and put on a plane home to Wisconsin without being given a chance to explain himself, according to the lawsuit.
McCormick has denied having sex with the woman and has said he was never alone in the same room with her, said Michael Burch, a former assistant wrestling coach at Brown who acted as McCormick's adviser.
Once home in Wisconsin, McCormick and his parents became increasingly convinced that he would not get a fair disciplinary hearing and that the accuser's father had the ear of the administration. Rather than proceed and risk explusion, he agreed to sign the contract as a way to quietly resolve the case and move on from Brown, according to his lawsuit.
He later wrote Brown to withdraw for medical reasons. A Brown administrator approved his withdrawal request but told him he would be ineligible for readmission, according to documents reviewed by the AP.