- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has released documents of assault and rape allegations against a former U.S. Naval training student at Fordham University, according to the attorney of a former roommate suing the Catholic school for allegedly trying to cover it up.

Attorney Kevin Mulhearn said Thursday he’d received the criminal investigation records as part of a Freedom of Information Act request and plans to include it in an amended complaint that he’s filing in federal court Monday on behalf of his client, Francis Austin.  

“The NCIS report makes it clear that Fordham’s mantra that the Navy had sole jurisdiction over the allegations is a blatant lie,” Mr. Mulhearn told The Washington Times on Thursday.

The NCIS did not respond to a request from The Times for comment.

Fordham University also did not respond to multiple inquiries, but The New York Post reported on Aug. 4 that spokesman Bob Howe had declined to comment on the lawsuit, “citing policies against discussing student records and ongoing litigation.”

The Navy says in the records that it did not have jurisdiction over the allegations. But the New York school has also disavowed jurisdiction, according to the attorney.

“As Frank was, and is, a meticulous record-keeper, we now have the actual documents which Fordham manufactured and used to launch its fraudulent cover-up and conspiracy,” Mr. Mulhearn said.

He contended that the documents show that five different Fordham students — three women and one man, in addition to Mr. Austin — accused the same individual of sexual misconduct starting in 2011.

Although Mr. Austin and the accused perpetrator roomed together as Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) students, not all of the accusers were part of the Navy’s Reserve, the attorney said.

In late July, Mr. Austin filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, seeking unspecified damages from Fordham for fraud and violations of Title IX protections.

Mr. Austin, 30, alleges in the suit that the university never investigated his allegation that his “closeted homosexual” roommate raped him in February 2011 during their time together at the Bronx campus.

According to a cease-and-desist letter that his attorney sent to Fordham on Oct. 26, Mr. Austin and his husband have received “numerous harassing and unwanted telephone calls” from the university soliciting donations. 

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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