Former AU student helps documentary combat false rape claims

Former AU student helps documentary combat false rape claims

Joshua Strange, of Spartanburg, SC, couldn't wait to receive a college education from Auburn University. However, his dream was cut short when he was accused of assaulting and raping a former girlfriend.

"There were days when I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to do anything," explains Strange.

After a lengthy legal battle, Strange was cleared of his charges. A grand jury handed up a "no bill" for the sodomy charge and when the assault charge went to trial, the accuser did not show up.

"Josh never got to prove she was liar," says Strange's mother, Allison, "He didn't get to tell his story in court."

However, Strange was punished for the unproven crimes by being expelled from AU and he can never step foot on campus again.

"I would ask myself, do I really want to face the world because the world is stacked up against me," says Joshua.

Strange's experience comes in contrast to those being followed in a documentary, The Hunting Ground. The film follows survivors as they pursue their education while fighting for justice. Strange's story is not featured in the documentary.

"We just want people to understand there is another side to every story," explains Allison.

The Strange family has joined forces with other survivors and formed the national nonprofit group, Families Advocating for Campus Equality, or FACE. They support parents and students fighting the same battle Josh did just four years ago.

There are currently 59 known lawsuits of young men against colleges and universities alleging due process and other violations in adjudicating sexual assault.

"We understand and believe that rape is a horrific and heinous crime and perpetrators of rape should absolutely be prosecuted in a court of law, after a proper investigation," explains Strange.

Filmmakers and the Strange family hope the documentary will change the conversation about campus rape.

"My goals for the future, in terms of this issue, are to change something. What I went through is unfair. Hopefully it holds a lot of good things on this issue and positive things," explains Josh.

The film The Hunting Ground is open now in select theaters.

A previous version of this story stated that Josh Strange's case would be a part of the documentary film. That is not accurate and the story has been changed to reflect that. We apologize for the error. 

Copyright 2015 WTVM. All rights reserved.