A Cal State San Marcos student diagnosed with autism, Asperger's syndrome, and Tourette's syndrome claims the college unjustly suspended him for "leering" at a female student while in class.
In the complaint, student Jason Lo is asking that a judge delay the sexual harassment proceedings and order Cal State San Marcos administrators to turn over the evidence used against him to justify his suspension, something they have so far refused to do. And, due to his disability, Lo is asking that a judge require administrators to communicate solely with Lo's council and allow him to forego giving live testimony during the hearing.
The March 22 complaint is the latest in a series of legal complaints over inadequate and unfair sexual harassment proceedings at San Diego County college campuses. Over the course of the past two years, complaints alleging inadequate sexual assault investigations and unjust hearings have been lodged against San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego, and the University of San Diego.
It is the first such case involving a disabled student and claims that the college is turning a blind eye to Lo's disabilities.
Administrators at Cal State San Marcos contacted Lo in October of last year to notify him of the allegations.
"On October 2, 2015, you sexually harassed another member of the [Cal State San Marcos] community by leering and staring at her groin area. You were asked multiple times to refrain from this behavior. After ignoring requests to stop, you stated, 'I can't control myself.'"
College staff said Lo's "leering" qualified as "obscene behavior."
Five days after the complaint was made, Lo was told he would not be allowed back on campus and was suspended until a full hearing was held.
Lo contacted dean of students and Title IX coordinator Dilcie Perez on October 26, waiving his right to a hearing within ten days, as required by state law, and to resolve the issue on his own.
"This is Jason," he wrote in an email to Perez. "I hope you are doing very well. Thank you for taking the time to call me this morning to talk about the pending case and my interim suspension from CSU San Marcos. I am writing to let you know that I would like to waive my right to have the hearing within the ten-day period, and instead meet with you, the Dean of Students, personally to resolve the entire case via informal channel. My mom and I, and my psychologist Dr. Lincoln, will see you on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 pm."
In November, Lo's mother informed Perez that her son had hired an attorney to help him through the Title IX hearings.
Perez responded, saying it was against campus policy for her to work directly with an attorney for student-conduct hearings that do not involve potential felony charges or expulsion.
In a December letter, Lo's attorney, John Lemon, implored Perez to reconsider. Lemon referred to a March 2015 Disability Verification Form that Lo submitted to the college that identified Lo's disabilities and "noted that he suffers from 'lapses in social reasoning and judgment’” as well as from anxiety.
"As an initial matter, [Lo] requests that you communicate with me as a 'reasonable accommodation' for his disability, which makes communication — particularly in stressful situations — extremely difficult," wrote Lemon.
Thus began what has been, according to the complaint, a five-month-long effort to try and obtain the evidence against him, establish communication primarily between Perez and Lo's attorney (Lemon), and allow Lo to forego testifying during the hearing. After little progress, Lemon filed the March 22 writ of mandate.
Court documents reveal additional facts of the case.
While a student at the University of California at Berkeley, Lo was accused of stalking a student over the course of a day. The university suspended Lo. It is unclear if Lo subsequently reenrolled after his suspension.
And while the identity of the woman who complained about Lo will not be made public, she is no stranger to controversy. She became somewhat of a YouTube celebrity upon releasing videos of her dressed as Wonder Woman at Comic-Con and pranking attendees by telling her boyfriend that men groped her. The boyfriend argued with the men before telling them they were being recorded on a hidden camera.
A judge in North County is scheduled to consider whether to order the school to delay the college's Title IX proceedings during a April 5 hearing.