A University of South Florida football player kicked off the team after he was accused of rape has filed a federal discrimination suit against the university.
Charges against Kevaughn Dingle, 22, were dropped by the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office. But Dingle said in the lawsuit that his arrest by campus police in November 2017, his expulsion and the resulting news coverage “destroyed” his life.
According to the suit, filed Dec. 8 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, USF “rushed to a judgment” in the case for a number of reasons — the emergence at the time of the “Me Too” women’s rights movement, mistrust toward Black men, flawed investigative and judicial processes, internal bias in favor of female accusers and embarrassment over a prior USF assault case.
“White students accused of the same conduct violations as (Dingle) were provided less severe sanctions, subject to more thorough and time-intensive investigations, and provided due process during the investigation and hearing process,” the lawsuit stated.
Dingle insisted to investigators that his sexual encounter with another student, identified in the lawsuit as Jane Roe, was consensual, the lawsuit said. There were “outrageous inconsistencies” in the version of events she gave investigators, the lawsuit said.
Police said they had “developed sufficient cause” to arrest Dingle on a charge of sexual battery. But the State Attorney’s Office disagreed, deciding not to pursue charges against Dingle because of a lack of criminal evidence, the lawsuit said.
The office could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
USF never issued a statement after the charges were dropped, the lawsuit said. The university will have no comment on the pending litigation, spokesperson Althea Johnson said Tuesday.
Neither Dingle nor his attorneys, Kenneth G. Turkel and Anthony J. Severino of Tampa, could be reached for comment Tuesday.
The Pembroke Pines native released a statement on Twitter in 2018 maintaining his innocence and criticizing USF.
“False accusations hurt the real victims of sex crimes,” Dingle wrote. “The accused deserves to have an unbiased investigation and a real chance to defend himself. The State Attorney’s Office gave me both of those things, but USF did not.”