- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When Yale takes the basketball court against Baylor on Thursday in its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1962, they’ll do so without former team captain Jack Montague, who announced on Monday he’s taking Yale to a different kind of court.

Mr. Montague, 22, is suing the Ivy League university after the school found him responsible for a sexual assault against another student, which he denies, and expelled him in February. He said Yale made him into a “whipping boy” to demonstrate it was cracking down on alleged offenders in light of bad press over the scourge of sexual assault on its campus.

“We strongly believe that the decision to expel Jack Montague was wrong, unfairly determined, arbitrary and excessive by any rational measure,” attorney Max Stern, who is representing Mr. Montague, said in a statement. “Yale has been oblivious to the catastrophic and irreparable damage resulting from these allegations and determinations.”

Mr. Stern said his client’s case was decided on a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, a low evidentiary bar in which a guilty verdict can be levied if an allegation appears more likely than not.

He said his client’s dismissal a little more than a month after a damning report on the rate of sexual assault at Yale is not a coincidence.

“From what appears, Jack has been pilloried as a ‘whipping boy’ for a campus problem that has galvanized national attention,” Mr. Stern said.

That report, an Association of American Universities study released in 2015, found that 16.1 percent of all Yale students — including 25.2 percent of undergraduates — had experienced completed or attempted sexual assault since arriving on campus. Thirty-two percent of graduating seniors also reported experiencing one incident of sexual assault during their time at the university, the report found.

Those statistics included incidents that the purported victims deemed “not serious enough to report,” which constituted a majority of the alleged assaults.

Yale President Peter Salovey pledged in the aftermath of the report to “redouble our efforts” to eradicate sexual assault from the campus.

Mr. Stern said the accusation against Mr. Montague came from a woman with whom he had had sexual relations four times.

After the fourth incident, when the alleged assault took place, the couple separated. But later that evening, the accuser met up with Mr. Montague and voluntarily returned to his room, where they spent the rest of the night together, Mr. Stern told the Hartford Courant.

“The sole dispute is as to the sexual intercourse in the fourth episode,” Mr. Stern told the Hartford Courant. “She stated that she did not consent. He said that she did.”

In response to his expulsion, Mr. Montague’s teammates wore his nickname and number on their warm-up T-shirts before a game, provoking a bitter debate on campus in which posters appeared telling the basketball team to “stop supporting a rapist.” The team later apologized.

Yale has an “affirmative consent” policy in which the parties to a sexual encounter must verbally affirm their “positive, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity throughout a sexual encounter.”

Police in New Haven said there is no criminal investigation ongoing against Mr. Montague.

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