Tuesday 21 April 2020

She Claimed She Was Drugged At A Fraternity Party. She Forged The Toxicology Report.

There’s now a new wrinkle when it comes to schools investigating accusations against students: The possibility that “evidence” has been manufactured. Schools were already ill-equipped to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct, but now students may be faced with the possibility that their accuser is willing to forge evidence and the school will not be able to determine its authenticity.
In New Hampshire, 20-year-old Olivia LeClerc told police she was drugged at an off-campus fraternity party at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). She even presented them with a drug test showing she had benzodiazepines (Xanax) in her system, according to a report from the New Hampshire Union Leader. She said she had been drugged at a Kappa Sigma social during the last week of February.
The school and the fraternity’s national organization immediately took LeClerc’s allegations seriously and opened an investigation into the UNH chapter of Kappa Sigma. The national organization and the Interfraternity Council suspended the UNH chapter pending an investigation. UNH still has an active investigation open into LeClerc’s claims, even though she has now confessed to forging the document showing she had been drugged.
Police, too, spent resources investigating LeClerc’s claims, but found no evidence to suggest that anyone else at Kappa Sigma had been drugged by a common-source beverage that had been spiked with Xanax, the Union Leader reported.
Durham Deputy Police Chief Rene Kelley said Monday that the police department “put a lot of time and effort into this case which took my officers and detectives away from other cases that they were working on.” Kelley added: “To put forth the effort we did only to find that this never happened is troubling.”
LeClerc was arrested on Thursday and will be arraigned on May 13.
Law professor Eugene Volokh, who often writes on legal issues for Reason, has reported numerous cases where people forge documents in order to further their interests in court. In July 2019, Volokh wrote an amicus brief for Hassell v. Bird, a case involving a fraudulent court order that was used to remove negative information from Google searches.
CBS News reported that month that it had discovered that some online reputation management firms – which promise to help people remove or hide negative stories about a person or company – had been forging documents to get Google search entries removed.
“One of the only ways to get Google to permanently remove a link from its search results is with a court order from a judge. CBS News sorted through thousands of these court orders and spotted small businesses from all across America trying to clean up their reputations. But we also spotted a problem: Dozens of the court documents were fakes,” the outlet reported.
“Part of it is just how brazen it is. They take a judge’s signature and they copy it from one order to another order and they pretend something is a court order. It’s cheaper and it’s faster — if they don’t get caught,” Volokh told the outlet.
The forgeries cause enough harm in the real legal system; just imagine how much damage they can do to college students falsely accused of sexual assault. Schools don’t have the resources or the desire to ensure evidence is accurate, and it will end up hurting innocent students. For example, just recently, a female student claimed she tested positive for HIV while alleging a male student raped her. The school refused to verify the woman was HIV-positive and the male student went to court to demand they do so to avoid risking a coronavirus infection to get tested. The student had already been suspended from school. He eventually got tested and found he was negative. The school did not verify her claim and wouldn’t have had the authority to compel her to turn over medical records, meaning the accused student was at a serious disadvantage. Just imagine what could happen in a he said/she said situation where the accuser produces forged documents and the school takes them at face value.

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