Columbia University student Paul Nungesser is suing the university because he says it allegedly let him be harassed by “Mattress Girl” Emma Sulkowicz, who accused him of raping her.
The news broke on Thursday evening, and the text of the lawsuit has been published online, and its contents are astonishing.
While Sulkowicz has become a national hero in the campaign against campus sexual assault, the lawsuit uses Facebook messages and other evidence to paint a picture of Sulkowicz as a jilted love interest whose deep obsession with Nungesser transformed into a savage hatred. The complaint extensively draws from Facebook conversations between the two, quoting Sulkowicz as regaling Nungesser with tales of her past and present sexual experiences. At one point, she expresses fears for her reputation after contracting an STD following drunken sex at a party.
“i’ve officially had sex with all of John Doe’ best friends,” she said in the exchange, according to the complaint. “did lotsa drugs – jk just got very drunk – well anyways – now i have an std i actually hate John Doe like if a girl is about to puke – don’t put your unprotected dick into her. . . I realy don’t want to be known as the girl who contracted an std because she was drunk you know? it is more his fault for fucking me unconscious – i mean i was conscious but clearly not in my right mind. . . i was literally blackout. . . like i puked all over the place.”
The complaint also argues that Sulkowicz showed an intense romantic interest in Nungesser during the summer of 2012, which Nungesser spent in Germany. She sent him more than a dozen messages along the lines of “PAUL I MISS YOU PAUL I MISS YOU PAUL I MISS YOU PAULLL” and “I would LOVE to have you here – omg – we could snuggle.”
The lawsuit even argues it was Sulkowicz herself who first broached the possibility of anal sex with Nungesser, even though claims of forced anal sex are central to her claim of rape.
“fuck me in the but,” she said bluntly during one Facebook exchange.
The lawsuit also accuses Sulkowicz of persistently dishonest behavior after she began accusing Nungesser of sexual assault. For example, the lawsuit says that local police decided not to charge Nungesser due to a lack of evidence, but that Sulkowicz claimed she had simply decided not to pursue charges:
Three weeks after Paul’s criminal attorney was informed that rape charges would not be brought against him, Emma falsely announced that she personally decided not to pursue criminal charges against Paul:
“I decided I didn’t want to pursue it any further because they told it me it would take nine months to a year to actually go to court, which would be after I graduated and probably wanting to erase all of my memories of Columbia from my brain anyway, so I decided not to pursue it.”
Emma conveniently omitted the fact that the Sex Crimes Unit refused to bring any charges against Paul following its investigation, due to a lack of any reasonable suspicion.
Of course, Nungesser’s lawsuit isn’t even against Sulkowicz, but rather Columbia University, and the complaint also makes several severe allegations against the university to justify Nungesser’s claims of harassment. The complaint notes Columbia’s own sexual assault policy requires participants to respect the privacy of everybody involved, and promises punishment to those who engage in “retaliation” against the accuser, accused, or any witnesses in a sexual assault case.
Rather than punishing Sulkowicz for publicly vilifying Nungesser, however, the university instead provided indirect funding for the effort. For example, last December, an event hosted by the Columbia groups No Red Tape and Carry That Weight publicly read a letter outside President Lee Bollinger’s office repeating the claim that Nungesser was a “serial rapist.” Columbia, the lawsuit says, essentially sponsored this event by failing to charge the groups for the full cost of clean-up after their event.
“President Bollinger thus displayed a contemptible moral cowardice in bowing down to the witch hunt against an innocent student instead of standing up for the truth and taking appropriate steps to protect Paul from gender based harassment,” the brief says.
Read the full complaint below:
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