A University’s Shame: How Brown betrayed one of its students

When Michael Burch – a former assistant wrestling coach – met William McCormick III on Sept. 13, 2006, he fit the role of an accused rapist. McCormick was a 6’4”, 275-pound, lumbering heavyweight wrestler who was asking help from Burch in dealing with a sexual assault charge that had just been filed against him. The case against him was strong; the charge was extreme and the University told Burch that physical evidence was coming. McCormick even seemed like a guy who would take advantage of a girl; he was a big, strong, and socially awkward student who was adjusting to his first few weeks in college. After meeting with McCormick – who was adamant about his innocence – Burch could tell that he was scared, and for good reason. The young woman who had accused him was Marcella “Beth” Dresdale ’10, daughter of the founder of a $2.1 billion equity firm and an essential donor to the University, Richard Dresdale ’78 P’10.

McCormick’s Life Is Turned Inside Out:

When they began their lives at Brown in fall 2006, McCormick and Dresdale were both freshmen living in the same residential hall. They met, like most other new students, during the icebreaker activities of orientation, quickly becoming friends within the first week and exchanging both phone calls and emails. After a few days, however, Dresdale’s contact with William dwindled, even though he continued to email and call her regularly. The situation came to a head on Sept. 5, 2006, seven days into their stay at Brown, when Dresdale spoke with her Residential Counselor accusing McCormick of acting “creepy” and stalking her. On Sept. 7, Dresdale made a sexual harassment complaint against McCormick.

Brown’s reaction to the allegation was swift. On Sept. 8, McCormick was ordered to move all his belongings across campus without any assistance from the University. He was also forced to drop two of his courses because they were in the same building as some of Dresdale’s classes. He was restricted to only eating at dining halls and participating in clubs located on Pembroke Campus. During this time, however, Dresdale did not file an official report with the Providence Police Department.

After learning about the initial charge, McCormick contacted Michael Burch about becoming his faculty advocate for the impending student hearing. Burch took McCormick’s case and anticipated a student hearing on the sexual harassment complaint, but there never was one. Instead, on Sept. 13, 2006, Dresdale’s Residential Counselor, Shane Reil, lodged Dresdale’s second complaint via email that McCormick raped Dresdale on the night of Sept. 6. Brown police immediately removed McCormick from campus, even though it would later be discovered that the allegation had not been reported to the campus police, and took him to Michael Burch’s house. Within 14 hours of the rape charge being filed, McCormick was on a plane back to his home in Wisconsin, never to return to Brown again.

While in Wisconsin, Richard Dresdale’s attorney, Joe Cavanagh of the Rhode Island law firm Blish-Cavanagh, allegedly pressured McCormick into signing a waiver that forbade him from ever returning as a student to Brown, indefinitely prohibited him from traveling to Providence without the permission of the Dresdale family, and required that he seek approval from the family before he could apply to any graduate school, fearing that Beth may be attending the same one. On Oct. 15, McCormick officially withdrew from Brown – having never received his student hearing – citing a previously existing seizure condition. This condition caused him to have about one seizure a day since childhood, but by the time he returned home to Wisconsin, he was allegedly having 20-30 seizures a day. In Sept. 2009, McCormick filed a complaint against Richard Dresdale, Marcella Dresdale, and Brown University claiming wrongdoing in his dismissal from Brown.

Richard Dresdale Plays Dirty:

Richard Dresdale’s influence over Brown stems from his significant donations to the University. He has a medical school scholarship named after him. He and three other donors were lauded for their “extraordinary generosity” in building the Brown Rugby field. He is one of only 54 members of the Brown Annual Fund Leadership Council. He is on the board of directors for the Brown University Sports Foundation. He is a past recipient of the H. Anthony Ittleson ‘60 Cup, which is given to extraordinary donors to the Brown Annual Fund. By contrast, McCormick was attending Brown on full financial aid.

From the beginning, Dresdale tried to use his wealth and influence to force McCormick out of the University. On Sept. 6, the day after Beth Dresdale accused McCormick of stalking her, Richard Dresdale emailed former Associate Vice President Ronald Dalgliesh ’91. Dalgliesh indicated that the issue was going to be resolved with the help of Shane Reil, Beth’s Residential Counselor. On Sept. 7 Beth Dresdale writes a sexual harassment complaint. On Sept. 9, Richard Dresdale went to Providence to take Shane Reil out to dinner at fellow alum and also wealthy private equity manager Habib Gorgi’s ’78 home and watch a football game with Beth Dresdale. On Sept. 11, Shane Reil wrote Richard Dresdale an email saying that Beth Dresdale had mentioned her father would “help straighten out a path for [his] future,” that he was thankful Dresdale was “making [him]self available to [him] as a mentor” and that he and Beth were “becoming very close.” Two days later, Reil filed the rape charge — retroactively changing the original sexual assault complaint — against McCormick and allegedly included vicious character attacks against him.

Richard Dresdale was praised for his "extraordinary generosity" in funding the Brown rugby field

Dresdale’s influence didn’t stop with Shane Reil. He also asserted his authority over President Ruth Simmons. Not only was Dresdale one of the biggest donors to Simmons’s university, but they were also business partners. Dresdale’s Fenway Partners worked closely with Goldman Sachs (where Ruth Simmons was on the board of directors at the time), and they were involved with the takeover of Simmons (no relation) Mattresses – according to a report by PR Newswire. On Oct. 3, Dresdale emailed Simmons saying, “Ruth … I am working to resolve the matter with the student who attacked Beth — the goal is to have him withdraw from Brown and not have a University hearing. This will enable Beth and the other students to avoid having to come in contact with the student and face questioning from his advocate [Burch].” Consequently, there never was a student hearing.

The Deans Engage in Misconduct:

Richard Dresdale wielded such considerable influence that he was able to prevent any semblance of a fair trial for McCormick. Not only were the deans unwilling to give McCormick his due process, but they were also instrumental in his dismissal. In an interview, Burch singled out Associate Dean Terry Addison, then-Interim Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Russell Carey ’91 (who personally handed McCormick his one-way ticket home), and then Associate Vice President for Campus Life and Dean for Student Life Margaret Klawunn, whom Burch described as a “ringleader”. The only dean whom Burch claimed was privately sympathetic to McCormick was former Associate Dean of Student Life Robert Samuels, who told Burch, “We are all scared for our jobs.”

Perhaps it was this fear that prompted the deans to perform a wholly inadequate job of granting McCormick a fair trial. They allegedly disregarded, hid, or tampered with vital pieces of evidence in the case

The first instance of alleged misconduct by the deans occurred when witnesses re-wrote character assessments for McCormick, a highly unusual and dubious action. The original statements, which the Spectator has obtained, described McCormick as an average freshman with no outward signs of violent tendencies. What makes the deans’ integrity questionable is that the new assessments – from the same students, whom Burch claimed at the time may have rewritten their accounts at the prompting of the deans – came back as acerbic assaults against McCormick’s character, a curious result considering that these students had not seen much of McCormick in between the writing of these assessments since he had already been removed and barred from campus.

One of the more puzzling aspects of the entire case was the fact that the rape was not reported to the Providence Police Department or the Brown Campus Police. In an interview with both Margaret Klawunn and Senior Associate Dean of Student Life Jonah Ward that the Spectator conducted on May 2, 2012, when asked if “it would be unusual for an egregious sexual assault not to be reported to the police” Klawunn responded, “Absolutely” and Ward concurred saying, “Right, right.” One can only wonder why neither Klawunn nor Ward – both involved with the McCormick case – reported to the Providence Police after Dresdale filed her complaint.

The deans also appear to have ignored a closer examination of the incident’s timeline. Beth Dresdale claimed that the rape occurred on the evening of Sept.6, curiously the same day that she spent the entire afternoon discussing the “creepy” McCormick with her RC and a University advisor. Furthermore, just hours after the alleged rape occurred, Dresdale and McCormick were seen together at a birthday party in their dorm. In two separate emails to Terry Addison – both dated Sept. 15 – two witnesses described Dresdale and McCormick as behaving normally. When this detail was brought to their attention, Klawunn and Carey proceeded to keep McCormick out of Brown, while Dresdale enjoyed college life at her father and grandfather’s university.

Perhaps the most destructive misconduct that deans committed was concealing evidence from McCormick and his advocate Burch. In the entire rape case, there was only one piece of supposed evidence against McCormick: a pair of ripped boxers. Beth Dresdale claimed to have the pair of boxers that she was wearing when McCormick allegedly ripped them off and proceed to rape her. This being the one and only alleged piece of physical evidence in the entire case, Burch rightfully asked to see it in order to examine it for finger prints and DNA — anything to help determine McCormick’s innocence. The deans refused. In an email from Terry Addison, dated Sept. 25 he said, “The boxer shorts will not be entered as material evidence. References to the shorts in witness statements will not be stricken” i.e. witnesses can still claim that the boxers were ripped off. In an email to Spectator editor Ryan Fleming dated May 3, 2012, Ward wrote, “If there is a question about sexual activity, any reasonable evidence to help determine the truth would be admissible and reviewed by both the complainant and respondent.” That, unfortunately, does not appear to be a right afforded to William McCormick.

Richard Dresdale Gets Caught in the Act:

In April 2010, Burch discussed part of the story to the Brown Daily Herald. A few months afterwards, Richard Dresdale began to target McCormick’s advocate. In fall 2010, he hired a private investigator to intimidate Burch.

On Sept. 27, 2010, a package addressed to Michael Burch was delivered to the house of his girlfriend, a single mother. Burch had not shared the location of his girlfriend’s house to any of his coworkers and was disturbed that someone had located him at that address. Upon opening the package, Burch discovered an invitation to a free meal at McCormick’s attorney’s – Scott Kilpatrick – favorite restaurant, the once popular Down City Diner in downtown Providence. When he arrived for dinner, he learned that two anonymous women had paid for his meal. The next day, he received a call from a woman claiming to be in charge of a company that delivers anonymous gifts, inquiring whether he had enjoyed his dinner. When Burch questioned her about the company, she hung up. The message to him was clear: People were watching his and Kilpatrick’s every move.

Richard Dresdale was an influential donor in the Building Brown campaign.

Through court subpoenas, Burch was able to trace the calls back to former New York Police Department Detective Patrick Brosnan (whom Dresdale glowingly praises in an online testimonial), the current CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants, an investigative firm. Brosnan had been hired by Richard Dresdale to “keep a close eye on Burch, out of concern for his daughter.” Dresdale had paid $10,000 to Brosnan so that he could keep constant watch on Burch.

Shortly after the incident, Kilpatrick – a former Assistant Attorney General, in the Criminal Division for Rhode Island – filed a motion to default for the ongoing case of McCormick vs. Dresdale on account of witness intimidation, i.e. that the defense – Dresdale – would automatically default (lose) their case. After a deposition of Brosnan, Kilpatrick withdrew his motion to default and stopped the witness intimidation investigation. In a letter dated Nov. 8, 2010 Burch wrote to Kilpatrick “Scott…you are acting like someone who has been threatened. If this is baseless, then I really need some very, very good explanations for why you are taking such a different tact since Brosnan’s deposition.”

Burch, fearing for his own safety, was granted a temporary restraining order against Dresdale and filed an official complaint with the Pawtucket Police Department. Despite initial enthusiasm for investigating the case, the police quickly responded that they would not pursue the investigation. Burch speculated that it could have been because of Dresdale’s influence went beyond Brown University to elected officials (i.e. Democratic Senator Jack Reed, to whom he donated $3,300 in 2007) as well as Dresdale’s firm, Fenway Partners, receiving significant investments from the Rhode Island’s state pension fund, $15 million according to Pensions and Investments.

Not Just Isolated Cases:

A case like this seems like an anomaly. It cannot be too often that a university like Brown is seemingly willing to sacrifice the wellbeing of one of its students simply to protect their endowment funds. Unfortunately, there is evidence that Brown’s actions in the McCormick case may have been the rule, not the exception.

In September 2009, just three years after the McCormick incident, there was another eerily similar case. A student, who wishes to remain anonymous, approached Michael Burch — who was known for advocating on behalf of McCormick — seeking help after being accused of sexual assault.

The student dated the daughter of another wealthy member of a private equity firm throughout the 2008 school year until they had a tumultuous break-up during the summer of 2009. After the break-up, the daughter allegedly filed a sexual assault complaint with Brown Police but told them not to process it. Then the student claimed that he was indirectly warned by a Brown police officer that there was a potential charge against him. Upon learning this, the male student contacted Michael Burch asking for help.

At Burch’s suggestion, he filed a slander charge against the female student. However, for nearly three months neither Burch nor the male student knew if there was an official complaint filed against him. They claim to have repeatedly visited, called, and emailed Brown Department of Public Safety, Jonah Ward, and Margaret Klawunn asking if there was an official charge, but they never received a clear answer.

After months of asking, Brown officials finally told the male student that a formal complaint was never filed against him. He claimed that he was advised by the university to not proceed with his complaint and let both charges fade away since he was graduating later that year.

The male student wished to proceed with his slander charge, seeking an apology from the female student and a retraction of her statements. He was told to meet with Dean Richard Bova. The student claims that Brown would not allow Burch to attend the meeting. When they finally acquiesced, neither Burch nor the student could make the meeting in time. Days later, the student claims that he was told that the meeting that they had missed was in fact the judicial hearing for the case and that the University would not disclose the outcome of the hearing. Having a student hearing without the accuser being present would contradict statements made in the interview with Klawunn and Ward, where Ward clearly stated that at any judicial hearing the accused, the accuser, an advisor and a student conduct panel would be present.

The McCormick case was not entirely unique in Beth Dresdale’s history. Two years into the McCormick case, a former high school teacher of Beth Dresdale’s revealed that he allegedly had a similar experience and that during Beth Dresdale’s freshman year of high school, she was involved in another sexual misconduct scandal.

In spring 2003, Beth Dresdale was allegedly caught cheating on a 10-point quiz by her science teacher, who wished to remain anonymous for this story. Following the teacher’s personal policy on cheating, he did not give Beth a zero on the quiz, but instead talked with her privately about the incident and discussed the possibility of retaking it. After their discussion, Dresdale accused the teacher, who had 32 years of experience, of sexual harassment. According to the teacher, Richard Dresdale quickly became involved, taking the case to the police. The police dismissed the claim and told the school to handle the situation. Within a week the teacher was escorted out of the school and was later released. Following the incident, Beth Dresdale transferred to an all-girls private school in the fall.


Following his coerced withdrawal from Brown, McCormick sued the University Beth Dresdale and Richard Dresdale. In December 2011 the case was settled after McCormick had been offered approximately $1 million, according to Go Local Providence,who had obtained a secret recording of Kilpatrick discussing the settlement negotiations. McCormick finished his college career at Bucknell University, where he continued to wrestle, and majored in Film. Beth Dresdale graduated from Brown without interruption in 2010.

Burch continued to work for Brown until 2009, when he resigned from his coaching position, claiming that he was pressured to do so. In 2010 the University cancelled his summer teaching contract that he had had for 7 years prior. After his dismissal from Brown, Burch continues to support McCormick’s innocence, saying, “as long as there is a Brown University I will talk about this story for fear it will some day be repeated, whether it be falsely accused students or victimized students who are denied justice, Brown cannot be trusted when their money or public image is at stake. We ought to be thankful that William McCormick stood up against such odds – he did so for a lot of people.”

Klawunn, who headed the case against McCormick, was promoted to vice president for campus life and student services shortly after, while the sympathetic Robert Samuels left Brown not long after the case. Unfortunately, The Spectator could not find any solid evidence linking these outcomes directly to the deans’ involvement in the case.

Perhaps the greatest legacy of the case is a loss of faith in the University. Brown is supposedly a place where students can learn, experiment, and express themselves in a protected environment regardless of personal background. The University, however, has punctured that dream. Furthermore, both Beth Dresdale and Brown have unnecessarily called into question the veracity of any rape accusation. Through their actions, they prove accusing someone of sexual misconduct can be used as a means of manipulation. Brown’s unwavering protection of the accuser at the expense of the accused — no matter how much the evidence points in the other direction — is a major flaw in the University’s judicial system. One hopes that what happened to McCormick will never happen again, but with the current judicial structure and Brown’s own track record, there is little reason to believe this will be a unique occurrence.

            “I came along with African-American parents who couldn’t read or write all that well, but they brought along traditions from their parents. I would love to live in a world where people are valued on the basis of what qualities they offer as a person, rather than on the means that they happen to have at any given time. …”


Ruth Simmons, Ebony Magazine, June 1st, 1996


EDIT: The interview with Margaret Klawunn and Allen Ward has been uploaded to Youtube


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About the author

Ryan Fleming '13 is the Editor Emeritus of the Brown Spectator. He is a Mechanical Engineering major from Southern Maryland.

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  • This is another great example of corruption and manipulation through wealth. It is disappointing to hear of this happening at a well respected private university. This and other instances I’ve read of may show that institutions such as this have perhaps lost focus on the value of the education they provide. The university is simply a business, with less regard for the needs of students and more concern for their big money players.

  • Al_94

    This type of authoritarian, medieval “justice” send chills down my spine. I worry about sending my sons to university much more than my daughters atm. Their careers can be ruined on the word of an unpleasant 18yr old girl at the drop of a hat, and few seem to care.

  • This all happened before the Obama administration removed the presumption of innocence for students accused of sex offences. Now it’s going to get even worse.

  • William Foster

    Such extreme examples of anti-male bias at our Universities is this commonplace, yet articles abound all wondering what could possibly be wrong with men nowadays?

    Maybe the problem is that boys and men are being attacked and treated as sub-humans, not worthy of the same considerations and protections as their female counterparts, even when they are children or innocent.

    Let’s not forget the false accusation of the Duke Lacrosse players. The media ate up the false allegations, successfully trying and convicting the young men in the court of public opinion. The prosecutors withheld and covered up information, and Duke officials helped them. And to top it off, the women who lied about rape did so with complete protection from the state and media who refused to even mention their names.

    Could you imagine if due process for women were stomped on an ignored by so many powerful people and institutions as it is for men? Far from there being a war on women, this is a war on men. And this was all before the most recent revision of VAWA, which forces Universities to bypass due process in order to receive federal funding.

    • Let us give credit where credit is due, the VAWA provision arose after the OCR’s Dear Colleague Letter last April; and it was ultimately removed from the bill.

      However, the Office for Civil Rights’ mandate still stands, still very much the threat to due process it was a year ago. It would arguably better if it were a legislative act of congress, actually subject to a vote – but instead it is the reasoning of one office: the OCR. Damning in this regard is that they have not responded to legal concerns about their letter for over a year now. You can read a full write up of our criticism of the DCL and its effects at http://collegejustice.org.

  • Steve Malloy

    This seems a poorly written, biased, emotional portrayal without regard for accuracy. If it is correct in pointing out one or more things, it is in spite of the flaws of the author’s perspective.

    People that rush to anger on one side or the other are being human. Take their thoughts as more emotional than factual.

    • Paul in Montana

      To Steve Malloy

      The article is neither poorly written nor emotional.

      As to your accusations of bias and inaccuracy, what’s **your** independent source of information?

      Along with your pomposities in subsequent posts such as “does not have the experience necessary to forward their [sic] own agenda” and “It will further divide and entrench the people who fanatically hold to each side of this issue,” your overall incoherence leads to a firm conclusion, unrelated to the original subject here: You’re a lightweight.

  • Steve Malloy

    “One of the more puzzling aspects of the entire case was the fact that the rape was not reported to the Providence Police Department or the Brown Campus Police”

    Rapes are often not reported. This is such a basic, simple, well-understood element of rape cases that an article written by someone unaware of it is not credible.

    • Ryan Fleming

      Steve, I think you’re missing the point. This rape WAS reported to the University. In my own interview with Vice-President Klawunn and Dean J. Allen Ward, both who were involved in the case at the time, said that any reported rape would be at the very least reported to Brown Campus Police and that is would be extremely unusual to not report something like this to the police. I will email you the MP3 of the interview if you want, unfortunately I’m having difficulty getting it on youtube since it’s about 35 min long, but I’m working on it.

      I think you are doubting my credibility because I’m wondering why in this case Brown didn’t follow their own protocol. And the case was reported (to the university at the very least) and she was seeking action against the male. She didn’t just want counseling, she wanted to do damage.

      • Steve Malloy

        Ryan – If I’m missing the point, then we both are. I have doubts about your credibility for a list of reasons.

        I have not concluded the University handled the case correctly. They may have really done a horrible job with this one. It really seems like the father might be a very bad guy as well. It might even be the case the accuser made all of this up. If so, this articles approach will not help. It will further divide and entrench the people who fanatically hold to each side of this issue.

        Anyone who would report on this case, stating the lack of reporting to police and “Unfortunately, there is evidence that Brown’s actions in the McCormick case may have been the rule, not the exception” without understanding how they sound in context, does not have the experience necessary to forward their own agenda.

        You do have an agenda. It is based on a very good passion and values. I don’t have a problem with your agenda.

        Not only would I be interested in the mp3, I’d be happy to come meet with you. I hope you don’t request we only talk about how to forward your side of this issue. If you do, I commit to helping. I can actually give you a ton of ammunition for your side.

        Your statement about Brown, as a rule, putting its funds ahead of the well-being of its students is important and accurate, as long as you are willing to include both times when the students harmed are the accused AND the accusers.

        • Ryan Fleming

          Steve, I’ll be back in Providence for the weekend of June 1st and I’d love to speak with you, email me if you’re available (editors@brown-spectator.com or rfleming91@yahoo.com). I also want to make sure that you got the email with the mp3.

        • clazy8

          How does “includ[ing] both times when the students harmed are the accused AND the accusers” have anything to do with the accuracy of Fleming’s statement that Brown puts funding ahead of student well-being? It’s hard to take you seriously. You complain about the quality of Fleming’s writing, but your own is barely coherent and ultimately little more than a display of unfounded confidence and self-righteousness. I’m amazed and impressed that Fleming has responded to you with such grace.

          • David Shim

            I think that the point Steve is getting at is that the university’s priority is not in prosecuting sketchy cases of sexual assault, but in protecting their influential donors. On the flip side, one can imagine a rape occurring with a wealthy respondent and a poor or middle class complainant, and imagine Brown taking similar measures to protect the wealthy donor’s child.

            The primary difference in that is that while guilt can be proven, innocence cannot, and so it might be more difficult for the college to cover up a rape which occurred as opposed to supporting one that did not.But as demonstrated through Fleming’s astute reporting, Brown University cares only about the justice of money.

        • Well, Steve, all I can say is that, after reading this chilling story, I would not want to be accused, accuser, or parent of either at Brown University. The author did a great job detailing why no one at that Uni should have confidence that justice will be done. They are corrupt to the very core.

      • Gerald

        From a law standpoint, if a crime is neither reported nor detected it did not happen.
        If a woman fails to report being forcibly raped then goes about accusing a readily identifiable purported rapist, she has failed to report a felony of which she claims personal knowledge, which is in itself a crime (misdemeanor).
        If she then goes about smearing the man she claims to have been forcibly raped by, he has every right to come against her legally.
        A public apology and paddling would be appropriate, and reimbursement for his expenses and the loss of his time.
        Though most discussions are of a female rape victim and a male rapist, it goes as well for a female who forces herself sexually on a male, or homosexuals who force themselves on others of the same sex.

    • Steve,you’re parroting the lie “X amount of rapes are unreported” that was started by man-hating feminists. Give us objective unbias proof that this claim is credible. You can’t prove a negative.

    • Steven

      This rape was reported. It was reported and discussed and statements were given.

      So – your assertion fails from it’s premise.

      You not simply being able to reason that out, from the *facts* given in the article itself dicredits *you*, not anyone else.

      Having no protections for the accused and dismissing even the pretense at due process is not how things should be handled.

  • scott

    Bold article Ryan. Many in the University establishment do not like being indicted for their crimes against the innocent.

  • sandy

    This is the difference between a girl who comes from a family of wealth and one who does not. The girl with the powerful backing can make multiple false allegations and everyone who has a vested interest in the family’s money will back her, regardless of the truth. The poor girl can walk into a clinic all battered and name her attacker, but if he has power and money, or his influence is greater than hers, justice will never happen. Let me rephrase: She will be badgered and subjected to character assassination until she buries herself in a hole and withers away in shame.

    This is a fabulous article and well researched. Until the victims (men and women alike) stop backing down under the pressures of money-wielding scumbags like the ones named above, this will continue. Mr McCormick did us all a favor by demanding accountability. You did the community of favor by printing the article. It took a lot of guts from both of you. Thanks!

    • Sandy,you’re way off base. When Nafissatou Diallo,a hotel maid,accused IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn of rape his life was made a shambles even though he had money and she didn’t. When her lies unraveled nothing was done to her. In the Duke lacrosse case a stripper of economically modest means falsely accused rich students of raping her. A DA,Mike Nifong,was caught covering up for her by hiding exculpatory evidence. Nifong was disbarred and spent one night in jail. The false accuser,Crystal Gail Mangun,was not only not charged with a crime she later went on to murder a man.

  • This is a great article. It is especially newsworthy given the recent changes in the Violence Against Women Act that erode the due process rights of men accused of rape on campus even more than they were already.

    More info:

  • Chavez

    “Brown cannot be trusted when their . . . public image is at stake.”

    Duke tossed its lacrosse team under the bus for the same reason. Save the school’s PR image: “Sometimes people have to suffer for the good of the organization” (Duke Trustee Chair Robert K. Steel, in explaining Duke’s stand). Good ole’ cynicism, rampant. Alma mater, indeed…

  • scott

    Isn’t one of the Duke lacrosse players that went through the Duke false rape “kangaroo court” a few years ago still enrolled at Brown?? Where are the Infamous Duke 88 when you need them??

  • Marty

    Stupid jock doesn’t know how the game is played. Fuck him hard. Shane Riel is the man.

  • I am a college professor (not at Brown but at a lower-tier four-year college) who also has written a number of articles on the Duke Lacrosse Case as well as articles and posts on a number of other criminal cases involving sexual assault and child abuse/molestation. This article is amazingly good, and I marvel that a junior in college can grasp things that most adults really cannot fathom.

    So, Ryan, I congratulate you, but don’t think that Brown will not retaliate against you. As in the Duke case, administrators and deans at “elite” universities in this country are not people with a conscience and they will do whatever it takes to “resolve” an issue to the liking of the most powerful people who pull their strings.

    I find it interesting that the “elite” universities are full of people who claim they should set policy and the rules for everyone else, especially given that they consider people of lesser stature to be inferior. (During the Duke case, I received a lot of emails from people telling me that since I did not teach at an “elite” university, I really had nothing to say. The ancients would call their reasoning fallacious, but fallacies rule these days.)

    Since the Obama administration is trying to institutionalize what Brown has done through its “Dear Colleague” letter, we can see what the future holds for higher education. These people really do want to create a climate of fear, as it gives them power, and there is nothing more an “elite” leftist desires is power over others he or she deems to be “inferior.”

    As for the Duke athlete, it was Reade Seligmann, who was graduated from Brown a couple of years ago and now attends law school at Emory University. I have met his father, along with a number of other people associated with the case. Brown will have a long way to go to match the perfidy shown by the administrators of Duke University, but from what I can tell, the administrators there are up to the challenge.

    • sandy

      WA: Whole-heartily agree with your comments, except… The desire to create a climate of fear over those deemed inferior is not a “leftist” thing, it’s an elitist money-power thing. Comparatively, religion is based upon keeping the masses inline through fear of hell. ‘The meek shall inherit the earth’ concept made the poor appreciate their low status in life and be content, preventing up-rise against the Lords. Control through fear is not a political thing; this concept goes back long before the politics of the left and right.

      What happened to Will McCormick had nothing to do with how anyone involved votes. In fact, I would guess that party lines were crossed several times over for the sake of money and power. The demands drawn up by Joe Cavanagh were all about power and control over another. Who do Dresdale and Cavanagh think they are that they feel they should have the power to indefinitely prohibit another person from traveling to Providence without their permission? I add Cavanagh’s name because I am aware that he has written other settlements making the same outrageous demands on other persons. They were going to show Will who was boss over the little turd from WI, but it back-fired didn’t it? Now poor Beth must face the fact that her conduct is out there for the world to scrutinize. Based on what I know about both Dresdale and Cavanagh, they both vote Republican.

      • I would be very surprised if anyone involved in this kangaroo court voted Republican. I am not talking about the rule of thumb that conservative scandals are sexual, socialists’ involve money and crime; I am not considering that modern mysandry is a socialist (American: read “liberal”, although I will not call such illiberal dogma by that name) bigotry.

        The article mentions Dresdale’s donations to a Democrat politician. University faculty members are rarely libertarian or conservative, I suspect administrators in vanishingly small numbers.

        Finally have you not noticed how socialism is all about power, prestige and image? Since the gradual decline of social conservatism and recent rise of libertarianism on the right, the left is becoming isolated in authoritarian instincts, instincts which were always stronger on that side (I shall not give examples, to avoid risk of distraction from Godwin’s followers’ authoritarian disapproval, but there are many obvious cases).

  • Congratulations. This is writing we should expect of an institution of the standing of Brown.

    As for the University administrators, we can only hope that they recognise the one course of action that will save Brown: honesty.

    I do not seek to be melodramatic. Brown is a world-class university, almost as good as my own alma mater, and it must remain so or wither, to limp along burdened by commitments and promise it cannot fulfil. In order to remain world-class it must attract the best students, and they must feel able to live, love, lose and learn.

    Far too many people in responsible positions seem to think that anyone younger than they are or over whom they have authority is stupid. Few applicants to university are totally naive, and all will look up their favoured institutions on this newfangled thing called the interweb or some such modern term. They are going to find this story. The applicants Brown needs to attract are the most intelligent, reasoned and motivated of their generation. The ones who can recognise that a great wrong has been done, and might be repeated.

    Soon Brown students will be those who want Brown’s reputation but know they are not good enough, so they apply to Brown knowing that the best will not and competition is less tough that at other Ivy League members. The reputation of Brown will drop with the quality of the students. Generation by generation the college’s standing will slide, and a generation is only a few years (is a Brown degree 4 years? I do not know the American system).

  • I agree that injustice knows no political party or ideology, as I have found that both Democratic and Republican prosecutors are equally likely to engage in misconduct. As for ideology at Brown, I would easily assume that the university would be very much a one-party entity, and that hardly makes it unusual. The voting patterns by faculty and administrators at Brown most likely would mirror the patterns followed by people where I teach.

    From what I can tell, Brown’s administration is one part moral cowards, one part cravenness, and one part opportunism. It is a lethal combination, but that is what we have today. The people are Duke are no better. As one who has been on the inside of that case, I can say that the Duke administrators and faculty knew what they were doing, and they were well-aware of the overwhelming evidence for innocence, but they had an agenda to fulfill, just as the people at Brown had the same.

    What is sad is that this girl and her father destroyed the life and career of another teacher, someone who had done nothing wrong. The lessons that Brown University and others are teaching that in America, political connections rule, and the “solution” to this problem is to politicize things even more.

  • Marc Siegel

    Thank you for researching this case and writing it up so clearly. Is this a pattern at Brown? During my time there, I heard about a couple of similar cases.

    An improbably charge of sexual misconduct should not, without a fair investigation and judicial process, be enough to banish an accused man from a college campus. In addition to being dreadfully unjust, it harms actual victims of sexual abuse.

    I’d be very interested in reading more in depth about the similar cases at Brown (from the 90’s through today), to determine if this is a common occurrence.

  • John Doe Anonymous

    I attended Bronxville High School with Beth Dresdale and I must say that it is beyond ridiculous what occurred before she attended Brown. The science teacher who was dismissed because of her accusations occasionally made inappropriate jokes, but never said anything that would offend someone or even remotely be interpreted as sexual harassment. Even though there was no evidence supporting Beth’s claim, her family took action and the teacher was dismissed. I was not surprise to hear that Beth pulled the same stunt later in her life. She is simply that type of person. While we will never know whether she is telling the truth, it is the opinion of this writer that she is a compulsive liar who is very dangerous. Given the character of the teacher and his commitment to learning, it seems impossible that her claim would be true. I will, and most of my peers, will never speak with her again because of the fear of being accused of a crime. My heart is with the accused man who was dismissed at Brown.

  • Ryan Fleming


  • Nitin Roper

    I cannot help but make a parallel with this case to the Penn State Scandal. Obviously child predators are very different than dismissing a student without due process but it appears this case made its way all the way to the top – Ruth Simmons. I was a student when Ruth was president and she was very well liked. However, I believe an incident like this, just like with Joe Paterno, is defining of her lack of moral character and leadership. Football has a governing body that at least dealt with Penn State’s leadership but who governs Brown and other elite colleges? Can Brown simply do whatever it wants to do, pay hush money and that’s all? Perhaps this case demonstrates that Brown and other schools need more oversight. Well done Ryan.

  • GuysGetScrewed

    One of my good buddies at Brown, an incredibly nice, shy, and normal guy, got accused of raping a girl spring of his freshman year. All that happened is they were both drunk, and she couldn’t take the fact that she had slept in the same bed with him when she was sober in the morning. She called rape, and with NO evidence against him, gone for a year. After not seeing him for 1 1/2 years, I was a junior and our friendship was never the same. It traumatized him to the max, I can’t even imagine. Once again, a rape case that never got reported to the police? WTF!



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