ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4 Utah) A former Dixie State professor files a $22 million lawsuit against university staff after he was fired in 2015.
The once tenured professor accuses Dixie State of ruining his reputation while unjustly terminating his employment.
In 2014, a teenage student accused Varlo Davenport of assault. She claimed he pulled her hair during an acting class.
A jury acquitted him of misdemeanor assault last summer, but Davenport argues the university is preventing him from working as a professor.
"I don't want this to happen to anyone else," Davenport told ABC4 Utah.
Davenport's multi-million dollar lawsuit accuses high-ranking Dixie State employees, including President "Biff" Williams, of having a vendetta against the former theater professor even before he was fired.
"They were actively lobbying the county attorney to have charges pressed against me. It's like, how do you do that," Davenport said.
Davenport claims the school employees falsified and concealed information that would work in his favor. The lawsuit also claims the university did not follow proper protocol when firing the tenured employee.
He now sells cars at a St. George dealership.
"I would like to be able to work in my chosen profession. That's the number one. That's the primary," Davenport said.
Dixie State general council Doajo Hicks said the allegations in the lawsuit are false and the school complied with proper termination procedures.
"Our point is to protect the students. We felt that this action and this incident did occur, based on the preponderance of evidence," Hicks said.
Hicks said the university's termination hearing proved Davenport was a liability and upholds his termination.
Davenport is asking for $22 million to cover punitive damages and lost wages. He also accuses Dixie State staff of going out of their way to prevent him from teaching, by giving bad references.
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