Tuesday, September 3, 2013

R&B star cleared of wrongdoing in rape investigation, but college pulls the plug on his show

At the University of Western Ontario, zero tolerance for sexual assault means zero tolerance for men and boys merely accused of rape even after they've been cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

According to this news report, R&B star Sean Kingston was supposed to perform a concert at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, but the show has been axed after Kingston settled a lawsuit over allegations of rape. News sources say the settlement amount is undisclosed.

Here's the story about the rape claim. An unidentified female claimed Kingston and two other men attacked her at a party at the singer's hotel suite in Seattle, Washington in 2010. Kingston admitted having sex with the woman, but insisted it was consensual.

Kingston was cleared of any wrongdoing following a police investigation at the time of the alleged incident three years ago, when cops ruled the alleged victim (the news report left out the "alleged" -- we've inserted it) was not a credible witness and declared there was doubt over her version of events.

The woman sued Kingston for monetary damages. Despite protesting his innocence, Kingston recently agreed to hand the plaintiff a financial settlement to avoid a court showdown in November.

The controversy has prompted officials at the University of Western Ontario to pull the plug on his show during the school's Orientation Week next Saturday (07Sep13). A representative claims "having Mr. Kingston perform could cloud the values surrounding O-Week," adding that college bosses have "zero tolerance for sexual assault."

This is troubling on a host of levels. The vast majority of civil actions settle prior to trial, for any number of reasons. Litigants often weigh the risk of a possible verdict against the cost of proceeding. A civil settlement, in and of itself, means nothing. In this case, the singer might have settled for a nominal amount, and most litigants would jump at that.

At the University of Western Ontario, an accusation of rape is as good as a conviction.