by Henri Gendreau
A jury trial has been scheduled in the case brought by former student Stephen Zingarelli, who accuses the College of breach of contract and negligence, among other charges, related to its handling of a 2012 sexual assault accusation against him.
A trial date of April 7, 2015 with a pretrial hearing on Dec. 8, 2014 was scheduled on Aug. 20 in the Knox County Court of Common Pleas.
“The scheduling of a hearing date and trial date in this case is a routine part of court proceedings, and our attorneys are treating it as such,” the College said in a one-sentence statement, provided by Director of Public Affairs Mark Ellis in an email to the Collegian.
Zingarelli was acquitted by the Common Pleas court on June 26, 2013 on charges of rape and gross sexual imposition. In December of 2013, he filed a lawsuit against the College, Ellen Kaufman ’13, who was a Sexual Misconduct Advisor (SMA), and the student who accused him of sexual assault. It is the Collegian’s policy not to name those who identify as victims of sexual assault.
Zingarelli alleges the College violated Title IX and its internal investigation process, as outlined in the Student Handbook, in how it handled the sexual assault accusation against him, and that the College was negligent in the training of SMAs. The suit claims his accuser made a false report and, based on Kaufman’s advice, destroyed text messages showing “the voluntary and consensual nature of the sexual relations between them.”
One of Zingarelli’s lawyers, Gregory O’Brien of Cleveland-based firm Cavitch Familo & Durkin, declined to comment.
Richard Lovering, one of the lawyers representing the College with Columbus-based firm Bricker & Eckler, declined to talk about the case, and would not say whether he thought it was likely that the case would ultimately make it to trial.
This article is in part with previous Collegian articles documenting the extent of the Zingarelli case. The others can be found at: https://kenyoncollegian.com/2014/04/24/college-motion-to-dismiss-zingarelli-counts-is-denied/, https://kenyoncollegian.com/2014/01/23/kenyon-motions-for-dismissal-of-zingarelli-lawsuit/, https://kenyoncollegian.com/2014/02/06/college-claims-volunteer-defense-of-sma-in-zingarelli-suit/