Hearing dates have been set for early February for suspended University of Minnesota basketball player Reggie Lynch to appeal findings that he was responsible for sexual misconduct against two women.
But Lynch’s attorney, Ryan Pacyga, says those dates violate his client’s due process rights. Pacyga said he can’t make the hearings the U has scheduled due to previously scheduled court hearings and training he needs to attend. He also says the school hasn’t handed over the documents needed for an appeal.
“You have to have time to adequately prepare when the allegations are that serious and the stakes are that high,” Pacyga said.
Two women who have accused Lynch of sexual assaulting them in April 2016 reported the incidents to the University in October. The school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action began investigating the complaints as Lynch played through the start of the 2017 season. The school sent Lynch and his accusers letters in early January saying he had been found responsible for sexual misconduct in both cases, recommending him for suspension in one case and expulsion in the other.
The next week Lynch hired Pacyga, who in a news conference said his client firmly has denied the allegations against him and vowed to appeal.
The U initially set the hearings before the Student Sexual Misconduct Committee (SSMS) for this week before providing all the evidence in the cases, Pacyga said Thursday. Pacyga would have had four days to prepare after getting the records and told the school that wasn’t enough time. He also told the school that he would not be able to represent his client at the appeal hearings until Feb. 14, Pacyga said.
The school then reset the hearing dates for Feb. 8 and 9.
University spokesman Evan Lapiska said that “more than one day was offered, and in this case more than typical offered due to conflicts.” He pointed to SSMS hearing procedures that say the panel seeks to “complete a hearing within one month of the student’s request for a hearing.”
In an e-mail that Pacyga forwarded to the Star Tribune, an associate with the school’s senate office, Bobbie Erichsen, told Pacyga that the Feb. 8 and 9 dates were the only ones available for Lynch’s hearings. Erichsen told him multiple dates were offered.
“Mr. Lynch was provided dates for these hearings on January 5, the same day that he requested hearings in these matters. The SSMS requested a response to those dates by January 9, and a response was never received,” Erichsen wrote to Pacyga. “Dates were re-sent with two additional options on January 10. ... The SSMS requested a response to those dates by January 11, and received no response from you or Mr. Lynch.”
Pacyga said there are “still some outstanding documents I want to see. They had October, November, December to investigate, and we get a couple of weeks? That would not happen in any courthouse in America.”