DeVos: 'I Don't Know' Whether Sexual Assaults Outnumber False Accusations
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has said she’s rolling back campus sexual assault guidelines to protect the rights of the accused, wouldn’t say whether she thought false accusations outnumber actual sex crimes in a “60 Minutes” interview broadcast Sunday.
“Are you ... suggesting that the number of false accusations are as high as the number of actual rapes or assaults?” host Lesley Stahl asked during the 13-minute interview.
DeVos first attempted to dodge the question, telling Stahl that “one sexual assault is one too many, and one falsely accused individual is one too many.” When Stahl repeated the question, DeVos became flustered.
“I don’t know. I don’t know,” DeVos answered. “But I’m committed to a process that’s fair for everyone involved.”
The Education Department did not immediately return HuffPost’s request for comment.
"Are you…suggesting that the number of false accusations are as high as the number of actual rapes or assaults?" Lesley Stahl asks Secretary DeVos about her controversial changes to Title IX guidelines on campus sexual assault. pic.twitter.com/enegEWhKBy— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) March 11, 2018
DeVos has been widely criticized for rescinding an Obama-era Title IX guideline called “The Dear Colleague Letter.” The 2011 letter was a comprehensive set of guidelines that clarifies schools’ responsibilities under the gender-equality law. It also serves as a tool for victims and those accused throughout the reporting process.
The education secretary came under fire last summer when she met people “wrongly accused” of sex crimes in group discussions of campus sexual assault. One group she met with mainly consisted of members of the National Coalition for Men, which a survivor advocate described as “viciously and very intentionally harass[ing] rape survivors.”
During a September 2017 speech at George Mason University Law School, DeVos called the current campus reporting process a “failed system” that is “increasingly elaborate and confusing.” She dedicated nearly half of her 20-minute speech to anecdotes about people wrongfully accused of assault.
In January, several civil rights and sexual assault survivor advocacy groups sued the Education Department and DeVos over her actions to roll back the Title IX guidelines.
Watch the full “60 Minutes” interview below.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article indicated that DeVos planned to roll back The Dear Colleague Letter. In fact, the Education Secretary officially rescinded the letter in September of last year.
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.