MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - A former West Virginia University who was cleared by a campus panel of sexual misconduct is suing WVU's Board of Governors to block a second hearing on the accusation.
Sean Caravaggio filed the lawsuit in Monongalia County Circuit Court, claiming a second hearing would violate his due process rights, The Dominion Post (http://bit.ly/1eGfcZI) reports. He is accusing the university of not following its own procedures by ordering him to attend a second disciplinary hearing.
Caravaggio, 18, was a freshman at WVU but he withdrew from the university in October.
In August, a 17-year-old woman accused Caravaggio of taking advantage of her sexually without her consent.
At a university hearing, Caravaggio admitted to two alcohol-related charges but the Student Conduct Board found him not responsible for any alleged sexual misconduct.
The woman's guardians filed an appeal with the university.
In a letter sent by Senior Associate Dean Kimberly Mosby, Caravaggio was told the new hearing was being ordered because of procedural errors.
Mosby's letter stated that under federal guidelines, the accused must have equal opportunity to present evidence and the alleged victim is allowed to have a lawyer at the hearing.
But Caravaggio's attorney argues that the girl had an opportunity to present her case and that she was allowed to have a lawyer at the disciplinary hearing.
In addition, his attorney said, the letter that detailed the reasons for a second hearing did not allege any of the grounds for appeal based on those contained in the student code.
If the case was reheard, Caravaggio could be found responsible for sexual misconduct, which would result in more severe punishment, which would violate the code, the lawsuit contends.
The lawsuit asks for a preliminary injunction to prevent the second hearing and an order preventing WVU from forcing Caravaggio to be subject to a second hearing.