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Former Yale student, acquitted of rape, sues university

Stamford Advocate - Local News
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Former Yale student, acquitted of rape, sues university

A Yale student who was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a fellow student in 2018 is suing the university.

A lawyer for Saifullah Khan, a native of Afghanistan, is citing “lost educational opportunity” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress” in court papers filed late this week in Federal District Court.

After Kahn was acquitted of sexual assault in court, Yale allowed him to resume his studies as a full-time student in the fall of 2018.

Khan’s case attracted national attention, as part of a larger examination of predatory male behavior in the so-called “Me Too” movement. An online petition urging Yale not to readmit Khan after he was acquitted collected over 77,000 signatures.

After his acquittal, Khan was suspended again and then expelled in October 2018, after reports of another alleged act of sexual misconduct arose in the Yale Daily News.

Now the case is generating a new round of litigation, as Khan’s high-profile lawyer, Norman Pattis, filed court papers against Yale seeking $110 million in damages. Using highly charged language, Pattis wrote that Khan was given a “lesson in deceit, betrayal and the exercise of double standards” at the college.

“The university does not comment on pending litigation,” said Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart on Saturday.

A woman who had sex with Khan on Halloween night filed a report with authorities the following day, leading to a trial on sexual assault that ended up in a verdict of not guilty in March of last year. Khan maintained that the sex in the woman’s dorm room was consensual. He was allowed to resume his studies after the trial.

In October 2018 the Yale Daily News published an article citing an incident in which Khan allegedly slapped another man in a sexual encounter with him and another woman in Washington D.C. That report, which contended that Khan had engaged in abusive behavior during the sexual threesome, led to his suspension and eventual dismissal, which Pattis contends was unlawful.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the process Yale used to engage in its fact-finding was fatally flawed,” Pattis said in January.

Khan, now 26, was studying cognitive science at Yale, where he enrolled in 2012. He was born in Pakistan to Afghani parents.

Pattis’ lawsuit veers from legal terminology into heated commentary, calling Yale “a smug hothouse catering to social justice warriors intent on remaking the world in their own image,” according to the lawsuit. Pattis is a frequent commentator on local and national news shows who has represented numerous high-profile clients.

The lawsuit names university president Peter Salovey, and numerous deans and administrators at Yale, as defendants.

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