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Columbia Settles Lawsuit Brought by Former Student Accused of Sexual Assault by ‘Mattress Girl’

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Columbia University has settled a lawsuit alleging mistreatment under Title IX brought by a former student who had been cleared by the school of sexual misconduct, according to the Washington Post.

Paul Nungesser was accused of rape in 2012 by fellow student Emma Sulkowicz, who demonstrated against the way university dealt with her case by carrying her mattress around the New York City campus. Two other students also accused Nungesser of sexual assault. The school investigated the allegations and found Nungesser not responsible of sexual misconduct in November of 2013. He both graduated from the school and filed the lawsuit in 2015.

“Columbia recognizes that after the conclusion of the investigation, Paul’s remaining time at Columbia became very difficult for him and not what Columbia would want any of its students to experience,” the university said in an emailed statement. The school did not reveal details about the settlement terms.

The university also said it would continue going over and updating its policies toward ensuring both accusers and the accused are treated respectfully.

“Together with Paul and his parents we have fought for three long years for a statement like the one Columbia released today,” said Nesenoff & Miltenberg partner Andrew T. Miltenberg in an email. “It gives Paul a chance to go on with his life and recover from the false accusation against him.”

News of the settlement came as Education Secretary Besty DeVos took meetings with both advocates for victims of sexual assault and those accused of the crime.


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