Sexual assault investigation to remain under seal, federal judge rules

The former graduate student suing Princeton University must rewrite his original complaint

The former graduate student suing Princeton University in a pending Title IX case must rewrite his original complaint to protect the privacy of various organizations and members of the University community, a federal judge ruled last Thursday.

Judge Peter G. Sheridan of the District of New Jersey released his decisions on several preliminary motions submitted by both parties in John Doe v. Princeton University.

The plaintiff in the case, a former graduate student, claims that the University mishandled his sexual assault allegations and subsequent suicide attempt.

In a motion to dismiss the case filed in April, Princeton wrote that “Plaintiff not only has failed to allege plausible facts sufficient to support his claims for monetary relief, but has alleged facts and referenced documents that refute those claims.”

The motion to dismiss has not been decided yet, and will be ruled upon at a later date.

The plaintiff must remove references to two on-campus organizations and his adviser and residential college in the revised complaint, Sheridan ordered last Thursday. In addition, students mentioned in the lawsuit, besides the alleged attacker, must be referenced with numbers, instead of letters.

In any future “public filings or statements, the Parties shall delete and not make further reference to” those groups. Any previously filed documents that contain any of this information must be rewritten and resubmitted to match the new guidelines, Sheridan’s order said.

Judge Sheridan also granted on Thursday the University’s request to submit under seal its internal sexual assault investigation of the interactions between the plaintiff and his alleged attacker.

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