A Call 6 Investigation into how sexual misconduct is tracked on college campuses is prompting action and reaction on Capitol Hill.
“I’m actually stunned by it,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) in response to Call 6 Investigates' Kara Kenney’s special report “The Trouble With Title IX.”
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-California) is working on legislation that would require universities to include sexual misconduct findings on college transcripts, provided the student was found responsible following a Title IX investigation.
“Once there’s a finding that there’s been a violation of Title IX, that should follow that student on their transcript,” said Speier.
Call 6 Investigates found a federal Title IX lawsuit filed against Vincennes University which alleges then-student Valdemar Castellano harassed multiple co-eds and raped and beat Jane Doe.
Castellano was eventually expelled from Vincennes in 2013, according to Doe’s attorney Ron Langacker.
Castellano then enrolled at the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima where, months after arriving on campus in 2014, he was arrested for sexual imposition.
Castellano grabbed a woman’s breast, pulled down her shirt, and tried to pull down her pants, according to the police report obtained by Call 6 Investigates.
Castellano left the University of Northwestern Ohio in March 2015, and months later, enrolled at yet another university—Rhodes State in Lima, Ohio.
Call 6 Investigates did some checking and learned there is no requirement for colleges and universities to share sexual misconduct information with each other; the federal government does not have a database that compiles the information, and there is no obligation for universities to list it on college transcripts.
Many schools are afraid of repercussions if they share information about a student’s history, including the possibility of violating FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
Rep. Speier wants to address that concern.
“You flunk a class, that follows you, but you can sexually assault another student, and that doesn’t follow you?” said Speier. “The ultimate goal is to prevent sexual predators from being allowed to move from one campus to another, preying on other students.”
Law professor Dr. Jennifer Drobac said legislation could get push back from those who believe sharing sexual misconduct information on a college transcript could ruin the perpetrator’s chances of getting into another school.
“That gets transmitted the rest of their lives, and they might have trouble getting a job,” said Drobac. “I don’t make excuses for bad behavior but some of this behavior may be more complicated than we’re allowing for.”
Drobac explained male college students, in terms of brain development, are operating as juveniles who may make decisions they later regret.
“So, we’re holding them responsible as adults for behavior that they literally might not have been capable of avoiding given the science of their brain development,” said Drobac.
Title IX investigations have a lower threshold of evidence than criminal investigations, and students may not necessarily have legal representation during a Title IX sexual misconduct investigation.
Castellano declined to be interviewed and threatened to file charges against Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney for doing the story.
In the Ohio sexual imposition case, criminal charges were later dismissed, but it’s not clear why.
In the Jane Doe/Vincennes case, the Knox County prosecutor declined to file charges against Castellano.
Vincennes University declined to comment on Jane Doe’s federal Title IX lawsuit.
Speier plans to introduce her legislation in the coming months and involve lawmakers from Indiana and Ohio.