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Report: Dez Wells files lawsuit against Xavier in federal court

Aug 20, 2013, 11:39 PM EDT

Dez Wells2 AP

Maryland guard Dez Wells has filed a lawsuit against Xavier, his former school, and the school’s president, Father Michael Graham, in federal court seeking damages for what Wells alleges was a wrongful expulsion last summer.

The lawsuit was first reported by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.

According to Wetzel, Wells alleges in the suit that Xavier failed to follow their own policies when they expelled him following a false allegation of a sexual assault.

“From the moment this nightmare began, I’ve been trying to get everyone to understand that I am innocent,” Wells said in a statement given to Yahoo! by his attorney Peter Ginsberg. “The supposed leaders at Xavier destroyed my reputation. It needs to make this right. Xavier needs to set the record straight.”

A quick summation of what happened last summer: Wells was accused of sexually assaulting a student, which resulted in his expulsion from the University. But there was so little evidence that local prosecutors not only declined to file charges, but they went to the media to voice their displeasure with how Xavier handled the case. Hamilton (OH) County prosecutor Joseph Deters called in “fundamentally unfair” and “seriously flawed”.

A week after the news broke, Wells told the same story that is in the lawsuit. A game of ‘Truth or Dare’ led Wells’ accuser bringing him back to her room, where she asked him if he had a condom before they had sex. The next day, she reported to campus police that she had been sexually assaulted. Cincinnati police investigated but declined to press charges. Deters still decided to look into the case, which is where the crux of Wells’ lawsuit begins. From Yahoo!:

Deters, according to the suit, quickly “developed serious concerns about [the] truthfulness of the allegations.” He left messages with Father Graham, the Xavier president, in an effort to convey those concerns but the messages were not returned, the suit alleges. He later discussed with another Xavier official and instructed his concerns be passed on Graham.

Before the prosecutor finished his work and a grand jury cleared Wells, however, the player was called before Xavier’s University Conduct Board, where the lawsuit alleges a group of administrators, faculty and students “impermissibly placed the burden on Wells to prove his innocence.”

The suit runs through a litany of what it alleges are breaches of the UCB rules and procedures. It also hammers the group for either dismissing or ignoring the concerns of the prosecutor’s office, failing to wait for “vital laboratory tests” and allowing for just a brief, two-day appeal process. It also alleged UCB members “had received woefully inadequate training” to make a ruling on these kinds of cases.

The complicating factor here was that Xavier was already being investigated for the way that they had handled previous sexual assault allegations. As Ginsberg told Yahoo! Sports, “it was much more anxious to appease the Department of Education then satisfy its own obligations to fairness for its own students. Unfortunately, Dez was the sacrificial lamb,” He also added, “it should have been clear to university officials on their own that the accusations were fictitious.”

None of the information that Wetzel provided about the lawsuit that Wells filed is new.

It’s not a secret that Wells — and many others, including this writer — believes that he was railroaded by a University that was looking to cover their own behind.

Kudos to Wells for bringing the fight to them.

A sexual assault allegation is serious. An expulsion as a result is even more so. The fact that Wells is a public figure who will forever be one simple google search away from being assumed to be a rapist is tragic and unfair.

Xavier owed it to him to be more diligent.

  1. seanb20124 - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:59 AM

    He should be thanking X, he is on a better team in a better conference.

    • anythingbutyanks - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:57 AM

      Yes, being on a better team is more important than the fact that a major and respected university unjustly gave credibility to a false claim that he is a sexual predator. Kid needs to get his priorities straight, amiright? Your comment is just stupid.

  2. jm91rs - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    This guy would have been the center of X’s rebuilding and would have been a big help to their entry to the Big East. After Mark Lyons was basically asked to leave, it seemed like Chris Mack or someone at Xavier was trying to cleanse the team of the “thug” mentality or whatever Tu Holloway called it. Dez was in that fight too, so my gut said Xavier used it as an opportunity to get him out of there too.
    They absolutely railroaded him and smeared his name to get him out of there, and to help the public image of the Catholic University. I listened to Joe Deters on public airways pleading with Xavier to reconsider. You never here a good criminal prosecutor do something like that, which goes to show you how innocent Deters believe Dez to be. The fact that he must carry this burden around with him forever is a shame. I hope Xavier has to pay big time, and I really hope Father Graham gives a public apology admitting their mistake.

  3. lenbias34pt - Aug 21, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    What happened to the girl?

    How about the girl in the case of the USC LB who did 5 + years in jail.
    Rape is hidious and we must do all we can to promote women to come forward when they are wronged, but false accusations need to be punished.

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