Judge: University of Cincinnati can't suspend student accused of sexual assault

CINCINNATI -- A federal judge ordered the University of Cincinnati to not suspend a student who had been accused of sexual assault by another student.

The male graduate student accused of the assault, identified only as John Doe in court records, alleged in his lawsuit that the University violated due process and Title IX, a law which prohibits sex-based discrimination in education.

The two students met on dating app Tinder in 2015 and had sex, according to the lawsuit, but the female student later said it was not consensual and reported it to UC officials.

The lawsuit states that Doe wasn't given the opportunity to question his accuser during a university hearing about the case, which she did not attend. University officials had planned to suspend him from Dec. 10, 2016 until January 2018 after that hearing.

In an order signed Wednesday, Judge Michael Barrett found that Doe's case likely had merit, writing that "cross-examination was essential to due process" in this situation and Doe was unable to ask questions he intended to ask because he had not been informed his accuser wouldn't be there.

Barrett also wrote that Doe's ability to pursue a career could have been affected by the suspension, while the university apparently had no concerns that he posed a risk to other students because he was allowed to complete the fall 2016 semester.

The judge ordered "that UC is enjoined from imposing on [Doe] the one-year suspension which was to become effective December 10, 2016."

UC spokesperson Greg Vehr said the university "makes every effort to follow all Department of Education requirements and guidelines to resolve sexual assault and other Title IX-related complaints, and to continually monitor and update the processes we use in responding to any incident of sexual misconduct reported to us."

Vehr said the university was cooperating with the judge's instructions as the case continues.

Doe's real name was not used in the lawsuit because releasing his identity "will cause the student irreparable harm as this case involves matters of the utmost personal intimacy," court records state.

Because his real name was withheld, it wasn't immediately possible to determine if any criminal charges had been filed in the alleged sexual assault.

Read the judge's order below:

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