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EXCLUSIVE: SDSU student previously accused of sexual assault speaks out

The San Diego State University student who was accused of sexually assaulting another SDSU student last year spoke exclusively to CBS News 8 on Friday.
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The San Diego State University student who was accused of sexually assaulting another SDSU student last year spoke exclusively to CBS News 8 on Friday.

The District Attorney dropped the charges against Francisco Sousa, but he remains suspended.

Francisco Sousa said he did not file the lawsuit against SDSU for financial gain, but instead to change the way SDSU handles sexual assault cases. 

In his case and in his own words, "Giving an accused student due process and the opportunity to defend himself before being very publicly accused," he said.

"It feels unreal. It feels completely unreal," said Sousa.

Friday's interview marks the first time Sousa has spoken publicly and on camera since he was accused, arrested and then released.

He said he wanted to set the record straight after being arrested for sexually assaulting a female student at an off-campus party last December.

Accusations he vehemently denies. "They are completely, completely false," he said.

The District Attorney's office ultimately declined to prosecute, the Portuguese national who said the way SDSU handled the case has destroyed his life.

"Had SDSU not taken the actions they took, which I believe was to fulfill their own political agenda, my life wouldn't be destroyed," he said.

Sousa, who filed a lawsuit against SDSU, said school officials did not even speak with him before they publicized the arrest via an email.

"When this happened, I believe that San Diego State used me as a scapegoat. Basically to say, hey we are being tough on crime. Here is this guy. Look what we are doing to him," he said.

Sousa, who is a sophomore business major, said the ensuing global media frenzy damaged his entire life. His schoolwork, his future job prospects, and his friend and family back home in Portugal have been ruined.

"The news was everywhere. I was seen as a 'bad boy,' and as a criminal." he said.

It's a reputation he fears will follow him into the future, even though all charges were dropped.

"There will be a day that my kids are going to Google my name, and they will see this. I do not know how I'll explain it to them," he said.

Sousa said he is concerned the actual victim of sexual assault may hesitate to come forward because of his case.

"I want them to know this girl made a false accusation. This girl lied. So please don't stop coming forward because of what happened here," he said.

He said he hopes the lawsuit against SDSU will give due process to anyone accused of a crime, before rushing to judgement.

"If I can do something that will help other people, I am going to do it," he said.

Sousa is currently studying at another university in the Los Angeles area. He said he is grateful for the support he has received from his friends and his family.

SDSU would not comment on the claim because they do not comment on pending litigation.

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