CINCINNATI – A University of Cincinnati student accused of raping a woman and attempting to rape another is suing the school and its assistant dean for ignoring evidence that he says absolved him, according to court documents.
Ethan Peloe, a junior at UC’s Blue Ash campus, is accused of following two UC students to their dorm on March 9 and performing sexual acts.
But in court documents filed Monday, Peloe says he is facing disciplinary action from the university despite “significant physical evidence” exonerating him.
Two female students allege Peloe met them at parties and followed them back to their room in Daniels Hall while they were intoxicated.
One of the women alleges she went to sleep but was awakened by Peloe attempting to have sexual intercourse with her, according to the suit.
The student claims she told him “no” and then ran from the room.
The other student said she was then awakened by Peloe having sexual intercourse with her, the lawsuit states.
Peloe denied the rape accusations. His lawyers said he has fully cooperated with an investigation by police.
“Peloe gave a voluntary statement. He told the UC Police that he was willing to submit a polygraph examination,” the lawsuit states. “Peloe voluntarily submitted DNA evidence.”
Police have not charged Peloe with a crime.
According to Peloe’s lawsuit, surveillance video obtained by police shows the two women “were not intoxicated and led Peloe to their room.”
The suit also states text messages obtained in the investigation called “significant portions of the students’ stories into question.”
“For example, although the students claimed to be passed out, they still sent a number of text messages,” the lawsuit states. “In addition, later messages joked about the case.”
Peloe said another female student was in the room when the alleged rape took place, but that student did not witness anything illegal.
Rape kits were submitted to a crime lab for analysis.
Peloe’s lawsuit states “on information and belief,” the results of the rape kits are consistent with the version of events provided by Peloe.
Peloe also claims UC has refused to provide him with the results despite repeated requests and a “clear duty to produce the information under Ohio’s Public Records Laws.”
Peloe is currently facing discipline by UC for a violation of the student code of conduct. The particular section deals with “nonacademic harassment and physical abuse.”
UC Assistant Dean of Students Daniel Cummins is accused of not conducting an investigation to determine if the allegations against Peloe were credible before beginning disciplinary hearings.
Peloe also claims UC has attempted to “limit his ability to prepare for the hearings” by giving him less than three days to obtain documents and other evidence.
Two Administrative Review Committee (ARC) hearings were held on May 2. During these hearings, Peloe said the council treated him unfairly.
“The ARC hearings were nothing more than kangaroo courts,” the lawsuit states. “Shortly after the start of the ARC hearing, it was apparent (the committee) had reached a conclusion and was biased against Peloe.”
The ARC panel later determined Peloe had violated the university’s code of conduct.
Peloe is accusing the university and Cummins of violating due process provisions of the US and Ohio constitutions, as well as his civil rights.
He is asking for an unspecified amount in damages, an injunction prohibiting any further disciplinary action by the university and repayment for court and attorney costs.
UC Associate Vice President of Public Relations Greg Hand said the university is not commenting at this time because of a gag order on the case.