Rape-allegation suit against Brown U. is dismissed

AP News
Posted: Dec 21, 2011 5:02 PM
Rape-allegation suit against Brown U. is dismissed

A man who claimed Brown University kicked him out and failed to notify authorities when the daughter of a major donor falsely accused him of rape reached an agreement Wednesday with the woman's family, resulting in the dismissal of his federal lawsuit against the Ivy League college.

The agreement was reached in U.S. District Court in Providence by William R. McCormick III, 24, and his parents; his accuser and her father; and Brown.

Attorneys for McCormick and his accuser released a statement saying they "have resolved all of the disputes between them ... to their mutual satisfaction." They declined to comment further.

The agreement says McCormick and his parents are barred from suing again.

Brown spokeswoman Marisa Quinn says the school is not a part of the settlement and did not participate in negotiations. She said that she did not know the details of the agreement but that Brown acted appropriately.

Michael Burch, a former assistant wrestling coach at Brown who was assigned to represent McCormick during the university disciplinary process when he was accused in 2006, said the outcome was a victory for McCormick.

"I'm proud and I'm happy for him that he fought so long against these influences and forces," Burch said. He criticized Brown, which he said has not learned from this situation.

"Brown will always put its image and money first," Burch said.

The McCormicks sued in 2009 after, they say, university administrators gave William McCormick III a one-way plane ticket home to Wisconsin when he was accused of rape in autumn 2006.

The student accused McCormick of stalking and harassing her when they were freshmen that September. He says he was abruptly removed from campus after the student later accused him of raping her in her dorm room while she was trying to study.

McCormick alleged the school accepted the rape allegations as true without doing an investigation. Brown didn't refer the matter to police and instead handled it internally, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says the father of the accuser is a Brown alumnus who has "donated and raised very substantial sums of money." It says he was in regular contact about the allegations with administrators and contacted university President Ruth Simmons directly.

McCormick has maintained he did nothing wrong but agreed to withdraw from the school after a confidential agreement with the accuser's family. The lawsuit says he signed the contract under duress.

Under that agreement, the accuser agreed not to press charges or take other legal action against McCormick. The woman graduated from Brown in 2010.

McCormick, a champion high school wrestler from Waukesha, Wis., was at Brown on a full scholarship. After leaving the school, he enrolled at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa., where he graduated in the spring.

The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they were sexually assaulted, and is not naming the father to avoid identifying the woman.