DSU student who was cleared of rape charges sues school

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By Esteban Parra, The News Journal       11:04 p.m. EST December 17, 2013

A Delaware State University student who was kicked off campus for 45 days while the college considered a rape charge is suing the school for damages, saying his civil rights were violated.

In a federal lawsuit, Andre L. Henry, 21, said the school did not provide him due process while it reviewed criminal charges that already had been dropped.

“We found out yesterday that his on-campus disciplinary charges were found to be ‘not responsible,’ ” his attorney, Daniel C. Herr, said Tuesday, referring to DSU’s General Judicial Council’s investigation.

“We are still moving forward for damages because he was suspended for a total of 45 days pending a full investigation and full hearing, which we allege is a violation to his right to due process,” Herr said. “For 45 days he was kicked out of his home, … he was kicked off campus, he was kicked out of school, all based on an allegation.

“You can’t do that for 45 days and then finally say ‘Oh, we’ve come to our decision. He was found not guilty.’ “

School officials said they were aware of the lawsuit but would not comment on it. University spokesman Carlos Holmes added that the criminal case has been closed.

Henry, who is majoring in accounting and finance and is on the school’s track and field team, was charged with second- and fourth-degree rape on Oct. 24, according to the lawsuit, filed Dec. 6 in Wilmington’s U.S. District Court. According to the suit, the charges came three days after he had consensual sex with another student at his college apartment.

The criminal charges were dismissed Nov. 1, according to the suit.

About that time, the lawsuit said, DSU’s director of Student Judicial Affairs, Paula Duffy, informed Henry he was prohibited from entering any university facility or adjacent property pending the outcome of a university judicial case, in which he had been charged with “Sexual Assault/Rape.”

Henry was told he could bring witnesses to a Nov. 6 hearing before the General Judicial Council, the suit said, but he was not informed of his right to have an attorney present.

During that hearing, Henry said, he was not advised of his right to remain silent or his right against self-incrimination. He also did not get the chance to face his accuser, who was not present.

Henry’s roommate, Jesse Allen, testified at the hearing that he had been in the apartment’s common room the evening Henry and the woman had sex, the suit said.

Allen testified the woman did not scream for Henry to stop, as she “previously alleged that she had.”

The General Judicial Council planned a separate hearing where the woman would testify, the suit said, but did not inform Henry at that time.

That hearing took place on Friday, and Henry was present, Herr said. He did not say whether his client testified.

Following the hearing, Henry’s suspension was lifted.

Named in the lawsuit are Duffy; Kemal Atkins, DSU’s vice president for student affairs; DSU President Harry L. Williams; and the woman who accused him of rape.

It is the policy of The News Journal not to name suspected victims of sexual assault without their consent.

The 17-page complaint also claims university officials maliciously prosecuted and defamed him.

In addition to monetary relief, Henry wants the university to implement constitutional policies, procedures, customs and training to prevent a recurrence of his experience.

The university already has such polices and procedures in place, Holmes said.

Contact Esteban Parra at 324-2299 or eparra@delawareonline.com.