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How to Ruin a Man's Life
June 12, 2001
by Wendy McElroy, mac@ifeminists.com

Last month, the Washington State Supreme Court ordered Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. to pay $1.15 million to former student Ru Paster who had been accused of date rape.

The story of Paster's seven-year struggle to get that settlement is both horrible and heartening. Heartening because it is part of a growing backlash against political correctness; horrible because it dramatizes how PC feminist hysteria on campuses is denying to many male students even the appearance of due process.

In October 1993, Paster was pursuing an education degree at Gonzaga, when Roberta League, a teacher certification specialist, overheard a conversation between a student named Julia Lynch and a friend. Lynch complained that Paster had raped another student, eventually dubbed "Jane Doe."

Recognizing the names, League reported what she had heard to Dr. Susan Kyle, the director of field experience for student teachers.

League also alerted an investigator at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction that certifies teachers of Paster's possible sex offense. Paster was identified by name. The investigator advised Gonzaga to speak with both Paster and the victim.

When pressed, Lynch repeated her accusation to League and Kyle. But upon hearing of the University's investigation, however, "Jane Doe" became furious and refused to file a complaint against Paster. She acknowledged having an affair with him. Even after a second meeting with Kyle, "Jane Doe" refused to file a complaint or to make a formal statement. Then two more university staff members met with her. One reported that she confessed to the sexual assault, the other that she refused to confirm the "non-rape." (In later testimony, "Jane" remarked that, when she refused to admit to the rape, the second interviewer had asked if she knew "where people who lie go.")

In February 1994, the Dean of the school of education, Corrine McGuigan, read written summaries of various interviews and decided not to support Paster's application for a teacher certificate.

Without such support, Paster would not get his certificate. Under Washington State law, teacher candidates are required to include a statement from their school confirming that they have not been convicted of a crime nor have "serious behavioral problems."

No one had spoken to Paster yet.

On the day he paid his final fees and tuition, Paster was called into McGuigan's office and left alone to read a letter. It explained why he was being denied the affidavit and therefore his teacher certificate. The letter did not state who had made the date rape allegations. When Paster asked about an appeal, he was told it was not possible.

In June 1994, Paster sued Gonzaga.

At trial three years later, "Jane Doe" testified via videotape and a deposition that Paster had not raped her, that Lynch had "really blown things out of proportion," and that statements from university officials about her interviews contained "falsehoods."

Three years after the de facto verdict of date rape, Paster was finally able to testify in his own defense and to present witnesses.

The university eventually was found guilty of "defamation, invasion of privacy, and negligence" and ordered to pay $1.15 million in damages.

Gonzaga appealed and won a new ruling stating that the university had followed state law that required it report behavior problems. The Court of Appeal reversed the substance of the lower court's decision. The issue of whether Gonzaga had defamed Paster when it notified State authorities of the accusation was sent back to trial court.

In May 2001, seven years after the first legal complaint had been filed, the Supreme Court of the State of Washington upheld the substance of the 1997 decision and award. The court found that Paster's civil rights had been violated and he had been defamed.

Interestingly, no negligence was found as "Gonzaga had no duty to investigate allegations." Various staff members had assumed the duty on their own initiative.

According to Paster, they destroyed his teaching career and his dreams.

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