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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student


IU deputy Title IX director accused of sexual assault, University confirms


Jason Casares, IU associate dean of students and deputy Title IX director, has been put on paid administrative leave by the University following accusations of sexual assault at an Association for Student Conduct Administration conference, according to IU spokesperson Mark Land.

IU will conduct a review of all sexual misconduct hearings conducted by Casares this academic school year, Land said. 

In his position as deputy Title IX director, Casares sat on a three-member panel that reviews sexual misconduct in the hearing stage after being reported to the University.

Land said the review would involve fewer than 20 cases dating back to August.

Casares was hired in 2011 as the associate dean of students and director of student ethics, according to a 2011 IU press release. Before coming to IU, Casares worked as an assistant dean of students at the University of Arizona.

In a statement from Casares' lawyer, Tony Paganelli, Casares denied "false accusations of sexual misconduct," made by Jill L. Creighton, an assistant director for global community standards at New York University.

"Ms Creighton has made inappropriate and false public statements reasserting her claims against Mr. Casares over social media, and in person to the attendees at an ASCA conference this week in Florida," Paganelli said in the statement.

Land said the University's review of Casares will likely include a review of the statements made on social media.

"The University found out about this Wednesday evening when the accuser's letter to her fellow members of the Association for Student Conduct Administration became public," Land said in an email. "He has been placed on paid administrative leave by the University while we investigate the claims made against him."

Title IX is a federal law prohibiting discrimination in any federally funded education program based on gender. The law provides specific protections against sexual harassment and sexual violence in educational institutions.

The University underwent a Title IX compliance review in 2014 mandated by the United States Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights. 

A new Sexual Assault Misconduct Policy was enacted in early 2015 in response to the review. The policy set a standard that "responsible employees," meaning all University employees that directly engage with students, are legally required by the Office of Civil Rights to report sexual misconduct.

In his position as associate dean of students and deputy Title IX director, Casares oversaw sexual assault hearings involving IU students.

Upon learning Casares would be allowed to attend an ASCA conference this week in St. Petersburg, Creighton posted an open letter Wednesday on Twitter. 

In her letter, Creighton said Casares, the former ASCA president-elect, took advantage of her after she had too much to drink at a convention in Fort Worth, Texas, in December.

Creighton, claiming she felt unsafe in the ASCA, said she then filed a criminal complaint with police in Texas.

Fort Worth Police Department officer Daniel Segura confirmed a sexual assault investigation case is open in the department, and that contact was made with Creighton at around 9:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 2015.

“I also could not stand the hypocrisy of Jason parading his expertise on Title IX, knowing how he had behaved with me,” Creighton said in the letter. “When I knew it could blow up in my face, and that I had nothing to gain but my own sense of safety, I asked ASCA to impeach Jason."

[An IDS investigation delving into sexual assault at IU cited Casares as a source. Read a reporter's personal experience with Casares and Title IX proceedings.]

In the letter, Creighton said although she was asked to maintain confidentiality impeachment hearings related to Creighton's formal complaint, Casares had resigned from his position as ASCA president-elect after being given the option of resignation during impeachment hearings.

“For those of you who will doubt me, or be swayed by Jason’s implausible stories to explain myself,” Creighton said in the letter. “I did not consent to sexual contact with Jason.”

Creighton said in the letter she believed she was risking her role as future ASCA president by speaking out and that the ASCA has not had her back.

“My story is my own, and I hope you use it to demand that ASCA live up to its ideals,” Creighton said in the letter. “I have a right to participate here. You elected me, and I want to be able to give my service to this Association without experiencing a hostile environment throughout the rest of my term and for as many years as I continue to be an active and dedicated member.”

Creighton has taken a leave of absence from her role on the ASCA board and said in the letter she would return to her duties when ready.

On Thursday, the ASCA Board of Directors responded in a letter to its members confirming that the ASCA received a formal complaint from Creighton on Dec. 10, 2015.

According to the letter, the ASCA Board of Directors hired an independent investigator from Hutcheson Bowers LLLP, an Austin, Texas, law firm to “conduct an investigation and present findings to the board.”

In the letter, the ASCA board said the law firm found “Ms. Creighton’s claims could not be substantiated,” and the complaint was resolved in an executive session.

According to the ASCA board letter, Casares resigned as ASCA president-elect on Jan. 29, 2016, but remains an ASCA member with “the same rights as other members to attend and present at ASCA events.”

“ASCA is working to accommodate the needs of both Ms. Creighton and Mr. Casares during this difficult time, taking into account safety and privacy precautions,” the board said in the letter.

According to the letter, the complaint resolution has come to a close and the association is “focused on the future and moving forward.”

Read Creighton's full open letter, posted on her Twitter account, here:

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