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She Accused Him Of Sexually Assaulting Her In An Alley. Syracuse Ignored Evidence That He Didn’t Do It.

On October 24, 2015, a young woman left the Orange Crate Bar in Syracuse, New York around 1:00 a.m. She later said a black man followed her had been staring at her in the bar, followed her out, grabbed her and pulled her into an alley, and then proceeded to sexually assault her by trying to kiss her and shove his hands down her pants to digitally penetrate her. A woman passing by grabbed Jane and pulled her away from the man.
The woman, referred to in court documents reviewed by The Daily Wire as Jane Roe, reported the incident to police, describing her alleged attacker as a “dark-skinned male” about 5’9” tall, and “heavy set with black dreadlock style hair.” The man allegedly had dreadlocks down to his shoulders, spoke with a deep voice, and was wearing a black T-shirt and dark pants. Jane could not remember anything else as she was heavily intoxicated the night of the incident. Police took her report but could not locate the alleged attacker.
On December 11, 2015, Jane was shown a photo array but she could not identify anyone as the man she said attacked her two months earlier.
The matter seemed to go away until January 24, 2016, when Jane told Syracuse police to say she saw a person in a bar that resembled the man she believed attacked her. Two other men with that person identified him. In court documents he is referred to by a pseudonym, John Noakes. Police then showed Jane another photo array, which now included a photo of Noakes, the man she had just seen at a bar. She identified him as her assailant.
John, in his lawsuit against Syracuse over the school’s investigation into him, said he “only vaguely” fit the description of Jane’s attacker. He is 5’8” and about 250 pounds.
In a telling sign, Jane told Syracuse police she didn’t want John criminally charged and that she preferred to have Syracuse University’s Title IX office handle her claims. Had police handled the investigation, they would have likely discovered that John was not Jane’s attacker, but by going through the school process, where poorly trained bureaucrats believe just about every accusation for fear of being labeled rape apologists, John would likely be expelled for a crime evidence says he didn’t commit. No matter, though, Jane believed John was the man who assaulted her, so he needed to be punished.
Jane formally reported the incident to Syracuse on March 10, 2016. John said in his lawsuit that Syracuse never told him “exactly when it became aware of the alleged sexual assault . . . or when John Noakes was identified as a suspect.”
Documents show Syracuse formerly opened an investigation into John on the day Jane reported the incident to them, but on March 4, John received a letter from the Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, who is also the Director of the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. That letter informed John that he had been accused of sexually assaulting another Syracuse student. John was immediately placed on an interim suspension. The letter told John it was worthless to try to appeal the interim punishment because he “should anticipate that this interim suspension will continue at least until this matter is resolved in full through the University Conduct System.’”
On March 7 (still three days before Jane formerly reported her claims to Syracuse) John was informed the university would hear his appeal over his interim suspension on March 9. He was issued a no contact order that placed restrictions on John that made it difficult for him to investigate the charges against him. The university found John had likely sexually assaulted Jane and upheld his interim suspension.
The evidence used against John was the fact that he had also been at the same popular bar as Jane the night of the alleged incident and that Jane had identified him in that photo lineup after seeing him at another bar. The university appeals board concluded John was “not completely credible” and claimed he didn’t give a factual statement regarding the incident. John, in his lawsuit, disputes the claim, saying he denied assaulting Jane and had provided Syracuse with evidence from his phone showing he was on his phone with friends at the time he was allegedly attacking Jane.
His lawsuit concluded that Syracuse rejected this evidence, claiming the text messages he provided were not an “official phone record” and didn’t “support or refute whether the alleged incident occurred.”
Syracuse collected statements from eight witnesses. Just one of those people claimed to see Jane’s alleged attacker, whom she later identified as John based on a Facebook photo. All other witnesses explained when they had seen either Jane or John that night. Several of John’s friends confirmed that they left the bar around 12:50 a.m. to go get pizza. John apparently forgot something at the bar, so he “ran back” with a friend to get it, but no one saw him attack any woman.
John says Syracuse discouraged him from seeking advice from an advisor. The school also found Jane credible despite different versions of the night in question and her admitted intoxication. Syracuse, according to John’s lawsuit, chose one of Jane’s version of events and stuck with it, going so far as to call conflicting statements in her police report “inaccurate.”
That is not to say Jane made up the incident. She was drunk and didn’t remember much about what happened. That shouldn’t be used to suggest the event didn’t happen, but it shouldn’t be ignored when discussing the educational future of another student. This is not a case of two people who knew each other hooking up and regretting it, this is a case where one student says a stranger assaulted her, and the alleged stranger said it wasn’t him and provided phone evidence to support his claim.
Jane didn’t testify at John’s hearing, so he couldn’t cross-examine her and the school hearing board couldn’t adequately “assess [her] credibility.”
The woman who identified John as the attacker through a Facebook photo admitted during the hearing that she only saw Jane’s attacker “through the corner of [her] eye.”
John said he was never alone on the night of the alleged incident and had never seen Jane. Both Jane and the woman who later identified John described Jane’s attacker as wearing dark pants, yet John was wearing khakis the night of the incident.
Even though the hearing board never even heard from Jane, they deemed her testimony “mostly credible” and ruled that John “more likely than not” assaulted Jane.
John was suspended. He sued Syracuse, which tried to dismiss the lawsuit. A judge denied their motion to dismiss, and on February 26, 2020 – more than four years after the alleged incident – John and Syracuse agreed to an undisclosed settlement, as reported by author and professor K.C. Johnson.
This is one of those cases that really highlights how inept schools are at adjudicating claims of sexual assault. John maintained his innocence and provided credible evidence he was not the attacker, yet the school went forward based on the accuser’s word. This means that the real perpetrator got away with what he did and is still walking the streets.

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