A new motion filed by Saint Joseph’s University has shed more light on the university’s investigation of an alleged sexual assault.
In a motion for summary judgment filed Monday, St. Joe’s argued that its investigation, conducted by a lawyer from Cozen O’Connor, was fair and unbiased. The school argued that the plaintiff, John Doe, accepted responsibility for his actions and “is simply upset with the result.”
“As a private university, SJU is not subject to due process requirements; rather its relationship with John is contractual in nature,” the motion said.
In its motion, the university argued that the lawyer it hired to conduct the assault investigation, Elizabeth Malloy, followed all of the required procedures. And Doe, the motion argued, did not take any of the available measures throughout the investigation to defend himself.
Doe had alleged in his complaint that he was treated unfairly by the school and its hired investigator. And he argued that Malloy had a conflict of interest in the investigation because of her work related to the #MeToo movement.
“John did not object to her appointment; the simplest Google search—which he did not perform—would have given him access to her professional biography,” the motion said.
Malloy has conducted more than 20 investigations at St. Joe’s, according to an exhibit included with the motion. There is about an even split between cases in which she found the accused student responsible and cases where she found them not responsible, the school noted.
“She has been SJU’s independent investigator since approximately 2015, and this is the first time that anyone has lodged a complaint that she is biased,” the motion said.
The motion also argued that John Doe was encouraged to consult with a lawyer and did not do so. He did not even consult his parents, who are both lawyers, according to the motion.
“His reason was that it would have been ‘an uncomfortable conversation,’” the motion said.
St. Joe’s argued that Doe did not provide any other possible witnesses, evidence or information about the night of the incident, so Malloy had nothing to go on except his answers to her questions, and the allegations of the victim, known as Roe. Doe’s answers to the questions, the motion said, would not have caused Malloy to question whether Roe’s account was true.
For instance, the motion said, when Malloy asked Doe about Roe’s claim that she recoiled when Doe squeezed her neck, Doe’s response was, “I have been told I was strong.”
When the complaint was initiated, St. Joe’s immediately answered the suit, saying it was “frivolous.” Roe, also a defendant in the case, has stood by her account, and also filed a motion for summary judgment.
Doe’s lawyer, Edward Schwabenland, declined to comment on the motion other than to say, “We intend to address it in court.”