Sousa: ‘It feels that I have my rights back’

by Emely Navarro and Matthew Bain

Francisco Sousa returned to San Diego State’s campus Wednesday, speaking to media at the Conrad Prebys Student Union about the conclusion of his sexual assault case and impending lawsuit.

“It feels that I have my rights back,” Sousa said in an interview with The Daily Aztec. “It feels that I have what I should have had from day one, which (would) be (to be) able to enter freely a campus which I traveled halfway around the world to be (at).”

On Tuesday Sousa confirmed to The Daily Aztec that his suspension from SDSU had been lifted, but that he had no interest in becoming an SDSU student again.

Sousa was suspended for violating Title IX, a federal law prohibiting sexual discrimination on college campuses. He was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a party last December and was arrested Dec. 9 on charges of false imprisonment and forcible oral copulation of a female. Those charges were later dropped in February.

After the accusations, SDSU Police sent a campus-wide email following up on the initial crime report regarding the assault. It also named Sousa and listed the charges against him.

Now Sousa has begun the process to sue SDSU for identifying him in the email.

“Of course law enforcement concluded the investigation almost as soon as it started,” said Domenic Lombardo, Sousa’s attorney. “Then the university undertook an investigation that lasted for perhaps seven months. … The university’s own rules require them to complete their investigation within 60-90 days of getting the complaint from the accuser.”

Lombardo said trying to communicate with SDSU throughout this whole process has been “the most frustrating experience a lawyer could have.”

Greg Block, SDSU’s spokesperson, said the university couldn’t comment as Sousa’s investigation is still pending and deals with privacy issues.

Lombardo said he might attend the first “Let’s Talk Bystander Intervention,” an event put on by the university that provides rape and sexual violence resources, Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Conrad Prebys Student Union Theater.

He said he has no plans to say anything at this event.

“It’s just something I was ruminating on,” Lombardo said. “Perhaps the students need also to be educated on what happens to the accused during these procedures.”

In an email, SDSU Police Captain Josh Mays said the department couldn’t comment as Sousa’s case is still pending litigation.

This story was updated at 12:17 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 3 with the most up-to-date information.