Trial date set in Palo defamation case

Beau Berkley

The trial date for the defamation case in which former ISU basketball player Bubu Palo is suing the woman who accused him of sexually assaulting her has been set for Sept. 22, 2015. 

The sexual assault charges against Palo were dropped after it was determined that the woman and her mother had fabricated evidence, causing the Story County Attorney to drop the charges against Palo. Palo then sued the woman and her mother for defamation. 

The sexual assault case stems from an encounter the woman had with Palo and a friend of his in the early morning hours of May 19, 2012. According to court records, after engaging in text messages throughout the day on May 18, 2012, Palo, his friend and the accuser met outside Cy’s Roost and proceeded to the friend’s father’s house, where both men had intercourse with the woman.

Palo was criminally charged with second degree sexual abuse in September of 2012, but the criminal charges were dropped after forensic analysis concluded that a tear in the woman’s blouse, which she claimed was torn during the assault, had been tampered with after her encounter with Palo and his friend.

Even though Palo was not criminally charged, he was still found guilty by ISU President Steven Leath of violating the Iowa State University Code of Conduct on Aug. 30, 2013, despite the findings of administrative law judge John Priester, who determined on May 22, 2013, that the Iowa State’s complaint filed against Palo was not founded. 

Palo appealed Leath’s decision to the Board of Regents and on Nov. 14, 2013, the Board of Regents denied Palo’s application for stay. Palo filed a petition for judicial review of the Board of Regents decision in Story County District Court, as well as a stay of sanction, which was granted on Jan. 16, 2014. 

In August, the sanctions against Palo were overturned. The Board of Regents then appealed that decision to the Iowa Supreme Court, where the case currently sits. 

According to court documents, as a result of defending himself against false allegations, Palo has incurred substantial costs and expenses and filed a petition against defendants for abuse of process, defamation and tortious infliction of emotional distress on May 16.

The woman and her mother filed a motion to dismiss on Jun. 26 on the basis that Palo’s suit violated the woman’s first amendment right to petition.

That motion was denied by judge Steven J. Oeth on July 28.