Former Xavier star Dez Wells settles suit against school
A former Xavier University basketball player who was expelled over what he says was a false rape allegation has settled his lawsuit against the Cincinnati school over its handling of the case.
Federal Judge John Arthur dismissed Dez Wells’ lawsuit, which had claimed that Xavier and its president used him as a scapegoat to demonstrate an aggressive response to sexual assault allegations in the wake of two unrelated federal investigations.
Arthur said both sides had resolved the conflict, but that the case could be reopened by either side within two months if the agreement is not fulfilled. Terms of the settlement were not released in court records.
Wells’ attorney, Peter Ginsberg, said the settlement terms are confidential and declined to comment further. University spokeswoman Kelly Leon declined to discuss the case except to say that "the lawsuit has been resolved in a manner satisfactory to the parties."
Leon had said in March that the university would be vindicated once all the facts became known. By settling the lawsuit, the university avoids a public trial.
Xavier kicked Wells out of school in 2012 in the aftermath of a student’s accusation that he raped her.
Wells said he had consensual sex with the student following a game of "Truth or Dare," during which he said the woman took off most of her clothes, kissed him, and gave him a lap dance.
Court records say that a hospital examination showed no trauma on the woman’s body, and she later told police that she didn’t want to press charges. A Hamilton County grand jury declined to indict Wells after hearing evidence.
Before the investigation was over, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters expressed his doubts about the alleged rape to Xavier President Father Michael Graham and urged him to hold off on any discipline until the investigation was finished, according to court records.
At the time, Xavier said Wells was expelled for a "serious violation" of the code of student conduct, and that a board consisting of faculty, students and administrators made the decision following standard procedures.
Wells’ lawsuit, filed in August, included 11 claims against the university and Graham, including sex discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel for injury to his reputation and negligence.
Wells, who’s from Raleigh, N.C., was a freshman star for Xavier. He transferred to the University of Maryland, where he became a top player after the NCAA agreed to waive the usual transfer requirement for sitting out. He will be a senior next year.
Wells has previously said he has been heckled by fans and faces continued questions about his character since the rape allegation.
"From the moment this nightmare began, I’ve told the truth. I am innocent," Wells said in a statement last year. "It’s time to make this right. Xavier needs to set the record straight."