Multiple women have filed a lawsuit against Liberty University, alleging that the campus has been a breeding ground for sexual abuse and violence.
There are 12 women behind the multi-plaintiff lawsuit plaguing Liberty, all of whom are former students, program attendees, and employees who claim that the school habitually mishandles sexual harassment cases and has enacted policies that favor the accused.
The suit, filed at the US District Court in New York Tuesday, made several claims under Title IX — a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Victims are now demanding the university pay an unspecified amount to be settled at a jury trial.
Multiple sexual misconduct and domestic violence reports against male students, as well as discrimination against a breastfeeding student over the past two decades, were enabled by the “weaponization” of the school’s honor code, called the “Liberty Way.”
This code allegedly made it more challenging for victims to report their abuse and always favored accused male students.
“Liberty University has intentionally created a campus environment where sexual assaults and rapes are foreseeably more likely to occur than they would in the absence of Liberty’s policies,” the lawsuit read.
Deeply Troubling Allegations
The Christian university in Virginia released a statement that described the accusations as “deeply troubling.”
“It would be heartbreaking if those efforts had the results claimed in this lawsuit,” the statement read.
One of the plaintiffs, identified as Jane Doe 2, noted in the suit that she was raped by three men while on campus in February 2005, and Liberty failed to initiate a Title IX investigation. The school also did not take action after she requested security be added at the tunnel where she was attacked.
Another plaintiff referred to as Jane Doe 12 claimed that she was attacked by a man later identified as Jesse Matthew, who was found guilty of killing two students, when she attended a Liberty summer camp in 2000.
She recalled that campus police did not take her seriously and failed to follow the appropriate protocol of bringing her to the hospital and noting her injuries for an investigation.
Liberty said Tuesday that it uses an amnesty policy so that victims can report infractions without fear of disciplinary action for sexual activity or drinking.
“We will immediately look into each of these claims to determine what needs to be done to make things right, if they turn out to be true,” the university statement continued.