Stanford decided on Monday that it would no longer ban venture capitalist Joe Lonsdale from campus after “new evidence” emerged regarding a former student’s sexual assault allegations against him.
This week, a reporter who investigated the case, Emily Bazelon, said she reached out to Stanford about what “new evidence” it found and that the school pointed to her own article in The New York Times Magazine.
In February, Bazelon explored the complicated allegations against Lonsdale brought by Elise Clougherty, a former Stanford student he’d mentored. Clougherty, who graduated from Stanford in 2013, filed a lawsuit accusing Lonsdale of “a sexually, emotionally, and physically abusive relationship” that involved forcing her to have sex.
Lonsdale, who is also a cofounder of the venture-capital firm Formation 8, filed a countersuit contending that their relationship was consensual.
Bazelon explained that she had obtained emails from Clougherty but that she’d gotten “many more” from Lonsdale, who began a relationship with the Stanford student after he mentored her through the school’s tech-entrepreneurship program.
One of those emails read, “Kiss kiss kiss, you are super handsome.” Another said, “You are a sexy man” and “It was so nice sleeping with you.”
“A Stanford spokeswoman told me that Marcia Pope, the lawyer Stanford brought in as an outside investigator, who made the finding of sexual misconduct and harassment against Lonsdale, reversed herself after reading the emails,” Bazelon wrote.
Stanford’s reversal raises questions about the efficacy of university-run investigations on college campuses. The Stanford Review echoed those concerns in a piece covering the reversal saying it “raises serious questions about the integrity and thoroughness of the Title IX investigation process.”
Business Insider reached out to Stanford University and Lonsdale’s attorney and will update this post if we hear back. A lawyer for Clougherty replied to Business Insider’s request for comment this week saying, “The case has resolved.”
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