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Update: The interim president of the University of Maine at Farmington responded Tuesday to this story, which details how the school failed two female students who reported being raped. Read his response here. It was late on Jan. Something bad had just happened, she told her friend Fuck buddy Banning maine females giving him details. Her friend hugged her until she could take deeper breaths, and Woodward left to call her boyfriend from her room, she said. He had just gotten out of work in Portland and picked up the phone to the sound of her weeping. It would take her boyfriend nearly two hours to drive to the school.

Alone, Woodward felt like she was losing her mind. It was the beginning of having to deal with an experience that destroyed her, said Woodward, now 21 and a junior at the school. Today, she is more cautious and self conscious. Wherever she goes on the small campus, she looks for him. For both Woodward and another female student who reported being raped inthey faced committees that decided they had been sexually assaulted. But then both students experienced errors in the handling of their cases and saw their findings overturned in bizarre fashion — and their feelings of safety evaporate.

Then, the president of the university at the time stepped into the proceedings to entirely overturn the finding that the man sexually assaulted Woodward. Subscribe to the Bangor Daily News]. When the BDN asked how then-President Kathryn Foster had the authority to reverse the decision, the University of Maine System cited part of the student conduct code that, it then realized, contained an error.

The code was supposed to contain language granting Foster the power to intervene. But the wording available to Woodward, her attorney and the general public did not mention a president being able to overturn a decision in those circumstances. But her attorney, Nicole Bissonnette with Pine Tree Legal Assistance, which offers free legal aid, happened to represent another alleged sexual assault victim at the 1,student university. In addition, the school allowed the male student to submit old messages from Sierra as evidence, even though a judge had ordered him to destroy them.

The BDN is not naming the men because they were not charged with a crime. Both declined to comment for this article. The BDN also does not typically name alleged sexual assault victims, but Woodward wanted to use her name so her story would be told. Jim Thelen, general counsel for the University of Maine System, said privacy law prohibits the system from commenting publicly about specific reports of sexual misconduct.

Department of Education, which can investigate and punish universities by taking away their federal funding. Neither woman has heard back. Campus disciplinary proceedings set out by policies under Title IX are different from criminal proceedings that can send people to jail. Instead, they look at whether students have broken school rules and should remain on campus. They often hear about reports of sexual assault. Aside Fuck buddy Banning maine females alcohol and drug-related offenses, rape is the most reported crime at the University of Maine at Farmington — a telling statistic for a widely underreported offense and one that mirrors trends at other colleges.

Title IX exists to make sure both men and women have equal access to education, said Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, which provides free legal services to sexual assault victims in Massachusetts and Oregon. How schools respond to reports of sexual assault, in many ways, matters more than their final decision. The night of her alleged assault, Woodward tried reaching another friend who, to her relief, answered the phone and let her come over.

Woodward was still distraught and crying when her boyfriend, Nate Red, picked her up there around 2 a. In the morning, after several hours of sleep, Woodward knew she had to tell the authorities.

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At the time she was driven by a desire to not let the man assault someone else, she said, and had no preconception of what was ahead. People who work with victims of sexual violence know their bodies may hold clues to the crime. Instead, Officer Ryan Wagner, who has since left the department, took her oral and written statement, and asked if she would be willing to try to get the suspect to incriminate himself in a recorded phone call. Woodward was nervous but agreed. But before she could arrange a call a few days later, Wagner contacted the alleged rapist to say he needed to speak to him, according to Bissonnette and Woodward, who later questioned him about it in a hearing.

On Feb. Woodward believes it was campus police who told school officials about her report, and they began a Title IX investigation. She felt respected during her interviews, she said, and got to look over all the investigation documents.

But the process dragged on. Normally the school aims to conclude cases in 60 daysbut it was three months before Woodward even got a hearing. A university attorney later said in writing that there was no bias. Hanstein also said bias played no role in the Title IX process.

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Woodward sat at a table in a window-filled room in the alumni center at the university, her fate in the hands of several strangers before her. It was April 2,and her alleged rapist sat a few feet away to her left, behind a white screen. Because of Title IX rules, Woodward was responsible for questioning her alleged attacker. But to prevent direct confrontation she had to ask her questions to the conduct committee chairperson, Eric Brown, who then repeated them to the man.

Brown is now interim president of the university. The echoed inquiry left Woodward feeling more unsettled, she said. But she steeled herself. When she felt the urge to stare at the table, she made herself look out the window, to a crow sitting on a branch. At p. Celeste Branham, then-vice president for student and community services. She felt vindicated and relieved. Then, three days later, Woodward saw the man at the snack bar on campus. She froze. If he had been suspended, why was he still around? Bissonnette, her attorney, inquired, too, with legal concerns. The school was essentially giving the man twice the allotted time to appeal.

When students appeal a suspension, Fuck buddy Banning maine females will sometimes let them continue their education remotely until the case concludes, he said, but they can be banned from campus where they could see the alleged victim. Woodward was infuriated that not just she, but other girls, could continue to be at risk, she said. She avoided going outside when she could but continued to run into him.

After reviewing the evidence, the review panel decided it needed more information and ordered the case to be sent back to the original committee. Importantly, the new hearing would even be before the same people, as Branham explained in an to Woodward. Bissonnette asked Branham to clarify what the new hearing would entail but was told to wait. Neither Woodward nor Bissonnette understood what was happening. Unknown to the women, she had taken up the case and done three things: reversed the decision of the review panel to have the case reheard by the original committee, found the man not responsible for sexually assaulting Woodward, and overturned the decision to suspend him.

Instead of subsection V. That is the subsection that allows for presidential review. A one-letter difference, essentially, changes the scope of what Bissonnette and others understood to be permitted. Bissonnette, who was first told about the error Jan. Bissonnette was confused as to how a judge and committee thought Woodward had been raped, but Foster did not. A new student conduct code took effect July 1 and is currently in place.

The BDN read it and found two more errors. Unlike Woodward, Sierra, now 22, had been in a relationship with the man who she said raped her. In the summer ofthe relationship turned manipulative, she said. In just two months that summer, he called her more than times and texted more than times — 20 attempts to reach her per day, nearly one per hour.

On Sept. When she found him, she said she could tell by his eyes he was angry and spent time trying to calm him down. She tried to fight away, she said, but he was much bigger than her. Unable to move during the assault, and in tears, she said her brain shut down. But she managed to focus on one dot on the wall — maybe where there was once a thumbtack.

Afterward, she went to her place, took an hour-and-a-half long shower, and cried. The next day she woke up at 8 a. She was numb, she said. That night, five days after the alleged assault, she reported her attack to the Farmington Police Department and had a different experience than Woodward did with campus police. The officers told Sierra to avoid all contact with the alleged rapist and to block him from her phone. They sent her to the hospital that night to have a rape kit done. But Sierra did obtain a protection from abuse order through the court. Then, the Title IX process at the university began.

She believes someone who knew the alleged perpetrator alerted the Title IX office. There was no confusion about how Sierra felt, however, when she walked out of class — after obtaining the no-contact order — and saw her alleged rapist standing in front of her. When it came time for her interviews, Sierra said she barely got through them, even though she had Bissonnette, a sexual assault advocate and her mother with her.

In the Title IX process, hearings to reach a decision can be held before a full committee of impartial people or before the school conduct officer. On that matter they were undecided, Sierra and Bissonnette said, and would use the hearing to make a decision. Sierra and Fuck buddy Banning maine females said they got the impression the school was on their side. But he went, and so did his attorney, Hanstein.

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Afterward, Rodas and Ufford decided to change course and found the man not responsible for all of the charges but stalking, harassment and violating the student code, and decided he could stay on campus. Sierra was stunned by what she called the insensitivity and ignorance of the final report. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.

Sierra had to appeal the decision before she and Bissonnette could hear an audio recording of the hearing. The school allowed the alleged perpetrator to submit old messages as evidence to use against Sierra, even though, under the protection from abuse order, he was supposed to destroy them, Bissonnette said. The BDN sent a of questions to Demeritt, but he could not speak about the individual case due to privacy law.

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From that point on, he did, she said. Two days later, the committee found the man responsible for raping Sierra. It issued a year-and-a-half suspension, so Sierra could finish school.

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Step by step, 2 women detail Maine university’s failings in their rape cases