Latest lawsuit against Liberty University shows ‘institution-wide problems’
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) – A former Liberty University student has come forward, saying she was assaulted by another student and the university did nothing to protect her or even investigate the incident. incident. However, this ‘Jane Doe’ is one of more than 20 women alleging gross misconduct by the school.
“I think all of this is emblematic of institution-wide issues in schools,” said Drew LaFramboise, counsel in the lawsuit filed on Wednesday, April 27.
The latest Doe – whose lawsuit is over 50 pages – says she was sexually assaulted by a classmate in off-campus accommodation at a party in April 2021.
According to court documents, Doe reported the incident to both the Liberty University Police Department and the Title IX office, but they failed to investigate or provide security measures, even when her alleged assailant kept contacting her on campus.
“They have a duty under Title IX to investigate the incident to protect the sexual assault survivor, provide assistance and lodging to the sexual assault survivor, and take steps to improve the safety of the school and the student community in general,” said LaFramboise. “What they certainly can’t do is retaliate against that victim.”
Doe even claims that instead of investigating her claims, the school instead punished her for attending a party that included alcohol – something prohibited in the school’s code of conduct. school known as “The Liberty Way”.
Doe says the trauma of the attack and the extra scrutiny caused her grades to plummet, and she was suspended and eventually forced to withdraw from college.
“Our client wants to see changes at the university,” LaFramboise said. “Even though she is no longer a student there, she still has a connection to this place. She wants to see Liberty University improve institutionally.
A student, Lori Nerdhal, says she is shocked to learn that this happened and that Liberty did not respond.
“It’s super surprising and super heartbreaking that this is happening with the positive Christian environment that Liberty represents,” Nerdhal said.
WFXR News spoke to a total of four students, all of whom said they were unaware of any lawsuits against the school, adding that they felt safe on campus.
WFXR News also reached out to Liberty for comment, who responded by saying: “The university has not reviewed the lawsuit and therefore declines to make specific public comment on the lawsuit at this time. Liberty University will certainly address these claims in court.
Importantly, along with the university, Doe is suing the companies that manage off-campus housing where she says the assault took place, as well as the student accused of assaulting her.