Expelled UH students sue the University
A couple that had been expelled by UH for an alleged sexual assault are now hitting back with a lawsuit.
As reported in the Houston Chronicle, on November 19, 2011, Ryan McConnell and a woman met at The Den. After meeting, they had a few drinks and allegedly became so intoxicated that a bartender asked the two to leave.
McConnell and the woman then went to Calhoun Lofts, where McConnell lived at the time, for “consensual sex,” as McConnell has said.
Natalie Plummer, McConnell’s girlfriend at the time, found the pair unconscious and naked in McConnell’s room, where she proceeded to take photos and video of the scene. After McConnell and the woman woke up, the woman left his residence, only to pass out completely nude in an elevator at Calhoun Lofts. Students found the woman the next morning and took her to Ben Taub Hospital.
UHPD was contacted. The woman was admitted with minor cuts and bruises, and after being transferred to the College Station Medical Center, a nurse informed her that she had likely been assaulted (based on her injuries and the results of a rape kit).
She said she didn’t remember being with McConnell; she only remembered being at The Den. In February of 2012, the woman filed a complaint, saying that her Title IX rights were violated.
In September 2014, following appeals and a prolonged and fruitless investigation, UH expelled McConnell and Plummer for “violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy,” according to Houston Press.
McConnell and Plummer then filed a lawsuit against UH and two UH officials in federal court, claiming “the way the school investigates and handles sexual assault complaints violates the rights of accused students.”
According to the Houston Chronicle, the couple said their right to “swift justice for sexual assault victims” was violated due to a prolonged investigation. They claimed in the lawsuit that they were kept in the dark throughout the investigation, never receiving the chance to tell their side of the story.
As reported in the Houston Chronicle, in February of this year the couple were found guilty for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policy by sexually assaulting the student, by taking abusive sexual advantage of another student, by recording and transmitting sexual images without the consent of all involved, and by engaging in sexual behavior that was “severe and had the purpose or effect of interfering with another student’s educational performance.”
It was not until September that the university expelled both students. Plummer needs nine more classes to graduate.
Criminal charges were never filed.
Stay with The Cougar for updates on this developing story.