E-mails disclosed by the University as part of William McCormick III's lawsuit against it show that his accuser's father was in contact with senior University officials in the days before and following the female alum's allegation in 2006 that McCormick had raped her.
The University disclosed e-mails exchanged among the father, President Ruth Simmons, Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance Russell Carey '91 MA'06 as part of the discovery process in McCormick's lawsuit against the University, a female member of the class of 2010 and the female alum's father.
The Herald is withholding the name of the female alum because she may have been the victim of a sex crime.
McCormick's complaint — which is proceeding in the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island — maintains that the allegation was made falsely and that he was treated unfairly and forced out of Brown in the first weeks of freshman year because his accuser's father is a significant donor and fundraiser for the University.
The female alum's attorney maintains that McCormick did in fact rape his client, and Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, wrote in an April 12 e-mail to The Herald that University officials "acted appropriately in this matter."
The e-mails reveal that Carey and Simmons were in communication with the female alum's father regarding her complaints about McCormick several days before she told administrators that McCormick raped her, and that Simmons saw the female alum in person the day before the alleged rape occurred.
Simmons turned down requests from McCormick and his mother to speak on the phone and in person, said Michael Burch, a former assistant wrestling coach who acted as McCormick's adviser in the disciplinary process.
In an e-mail sent to Simmons after the female student had accused McCormick of rape, the female alum's father wrote, "Ruth … I am working to resolve the matter with the student who attacked (the female student) — the goal is to have him withdraw from Brown and not have a University hearing. This will enable (her) and the other students to avoid having to come in contact with the student and face questioning from his advocate." He also indicated in the e-mail that he wanted to meet in person with Simmons.
The University has not disclosed any reply from Simmons to the father's e-mail. But in an October 17, 2006, e-mail to deans at the Office of Student Life, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn wrote, "We will let McCormick know that medical withdrawal will be acceptable, but if by 5 pm tomorrow we do not have signed agreement, we will have to send a letter scheduling the hearing."
McCormick withdrew from Brown the next day, citing medical reasons. He enrolled a year later at Bucknell University without any reference to the alleged rape on his Brown transcript.
"It would be irresponsible to comment on any individual document or communication," Quinn wrote in a July 22 e-mail to The Herald. "These records were shared in a timely and responsive way with the court, and are meant to be reviewed thoughtfully, guided by professional standards, as part of a legal process."
The University's disclosures also included various other communications among University employees, phone and card swipe records, and witness statements from students — several of which attest that McCormick became visibly angry when he noticed that the female alum had left him at the annual orientation superhero dance.
After the parties to the lawsuit complete the rest of the document disclosure round, they will take depositions of McCormick and the female alum, among others, before proceeding to trial.