The University of Maine System has dismissed a student who was accused of sexual misconduct, but agreed to pay $45,000 to settle a federal lawsuit he filed in 2019.

Several women accused the male student of sexual misconduct, and he was suspended while the university investigated an allegation against him. He filed his complaint in the U.S. District Court in Bangor, saying he was also the victim of sexual assault and that the school discriminated against him because of his gender. He sued under the name “John Doe,” and court documents never identified him or the women who accused him.

The parties filed a notice of the settlement agreement last month, but no details were included. Dan Demeritt, a spokesman for the University of Maine System, provided a copy of the settlement agreement Wednesday in response to a public records request, but said he could not discuss it.

The agreement includes a confidentiality clause and sets out the only public statement the parties can make about the case: “This case has been settled based on the belief that the agreement reached is in the best interest of the parties, including the University.”

The agreement says the payment will “represent partial reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred by Doe.”

The plaintiff attended the University of Maine Farmington. The agreement also says he is not eligible to return to any program or campus in the University of Maine System. His attorneys did not respond to an email about the case Wednesday.


The lawsuit came amid a national debate about how college campuses handle allegations of sexual harassment and assault. Title IX is the federal law that prevents gender discrimination and harassment, including sexual violence, in education. Last year, the Trump administration made changes to those regulations that bolstered the rights of the accused and limited the cases that schools have to investigate. Earlier this year, the Biden administration began the process of overhauling Title IX again.

In January 2019, the Bangor Daily News reported that two female students at the Farmington campus had accused the university of mishandling their cases. One of those women’s cases involved the male student who filed the lawsuit. The newspaper story prompted other women to come forward about their own experiences.

Court documents say at least five women made complaints about the student between 2017 and 2019, and both parties described a lengthy process of hearings and appeals. The allegations included stalking, harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual and physical assault. One investigation in 2018 cleared him of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations, but did find him guilty of harassment and stalking. The university said the student was put on disciplinary probation status and received an official warning. The complaint said the university later agreed to a settlement and paid the student an unidentified amount for a tuition refund, lost wages and legal fees.

In 2019, the university suspended the student based on a new sexual assault allegation. Later that year, he filed his complaint for claims under Title IX, including selective enforcement based on gender and violation of due process rights. He also said he reported that he had been raped by a female student, but university officials did not investigate. He filed an amended complaint last year that said he was dismissed as a result of the most recent investigation and reiterated his claims.

The parties held a settlement conference earlier this year and signed the agreement in late April. The agreement says the settlement should not be seen as an admission of liability, wrongdoing or unlawful conduct by any party.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: