Judge blocks Ohio basketball player’s reinstatement bid
CINCINNATI (AP) A federal judge has rejected a star University of Dayton basketball player’s request for reinstatement to the Ohio school after a suspension linked to a female student’s sexual assault accusation.
Dyshawn Pierre was suspended one semester for sexual harassment, sidelining him both from classes and for the beginning weeks of basketball season. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose denied a motion for a temporary order that would have stopped the school from enforcing the suspension.
Pierre sued earlier this month, calling the school’s investigation into the female student’s allegation “fundamentally unfair” with a “wholly irrational, unsubstantiated” conclusion after a hearing that didn’t accommodate Pierre’s learning disability. The lawsuit noted that Montgomery County prosecutors declined to file charges against Pierre after what he says was a consensual sexual encounter with a UD student last spring.
Rose ruled that Pierre hasn’t suffered irreparable harm and that the public interest is served by allowing universities to carry out disciplinary rules and procedures to keep an educational environment “free from harassment.” He wrote that the school’s hearing board found that Pierre was “unable to demonstrate that he received any words or actions that indicated he had effective consent for sexual intercourse or sexual contact.”
Pierre’s attorney Peter Ginsberg expressed disappointment Tuesday but said Pierre will continue to pursue his case, which also seeks unspecified damages.
“We are disappointed that the university has been so unwilling to recognize how defective its procedures have been and how unfair the university has acted toward Dyshawn,” he said, saying Pierre still wants to “regain his reputation.”
The school declined to comment on the litigation but said Tuesday in a statement: “As a Catholic, Marianist university, we strive to maintain a campus that protects the dignity of all persons and is free of sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual misconduct.”
Rose wrote that Pierre “is not likely to succeed on the merits of his claim.”
The 6-foot-6 senior, a 21-year-old native of Toronto, has played a key role in the Flyers’ recent basketball success. They made their second straight NCAA tournament appearance in March, after a surprising run to the Elite 8 in 2014.
Pierre said in a statement when he sued that the suspension threatens “my dream of helping the basketball team win a national championship.”
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