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Lawsuit ties Virginia killer Jesse Matthew Jr. to reported sexual assault at Liberty University in 2000

LYNCHBURG, Virginia. – Twelve women have filed a lawsuit against Liberty University, claiming that “Liberty University has intentionally created a campus environment where sexual assault and rape are more likely to occur than in the absence of Liberty policies.”

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, specifically refers to the Liberty Way, the university’s code of honor.

Jack Larkin represents the 12 women who said university leaders armed this code of honor, making it difficult, if not impossible, to report violations.

“For example, you are not allowed to drink anywhere you are. As a result, some of the victims, who were victims of date-rape drugs, felt that they could not report it to the university because if they did, they themselves would be punished. And in some cases, people who showed up to college were punished, ”Larkin said in an interview with 10 News.

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Some women who are part of the trial reported their assaults to the university through the RA and were asked to withdraw those reports because they involved recognized violations of the Liberty Way, according to the court record.

One of the women detailed her meeting with then-18-year-old Jesse Mathew Jr. while attending a college-hosted summer camp when she was 15 in 2000.

In this November 14, 2014 file photo, Jesse Matthew Jr. looks towards the gallery during his court appearance in Fairfax, Va. (Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post via AP, Pool, File) (Associated press)

In May 2016, Matthew pleaded guilty to the murders of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham in 2014 and Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in 2009 and is currently serving a life sentence for his crimes.

Here is a brief summary of the complaint of each of the 12 women, according to the lawsuit:

  • Jane Doe 1 – A Liberty employee in 2013, she alleges that her supervisor, Keith Anderson, at one point “forcibly kissed her, on the lips, against her will”.

  • Jane Doe 2 – A Liberty student in 2005, she alleges she was gang raped while walking on campus and when she suggested the university make tunnel changes to the vice president Liberty University executive Ron Godwin was told, “Liberty University is the safest university on the east coast and if she didn’t like it she could leave.

  • Jane Doe 3 – A Liberty student in 2017, she alleges she was raped and when she reported it to her RA she was told that “if she did, she would face penalties for drinking under the Liberty Way “. She also claims that in the university’s Title IX investigation file, photographs of bruising on the neck and breasts were considered too explicit to be included and were therefore removed from the file.

  • Jane Doe 4 – A student at Liberty in 2017, she alleges a member of the college hockey team raped her in the back of her car. His attacker violated the Title IX order on several occasions, and the university’s Title IX department told him that calling the police to say that he was breaking the order was a violation of him.

  • Jane Doe 5 – A student at Liberty in 2017, she had consensual sex and got pregnant. She alleges that the university expelled her, gave her 24 hours to move out and told her that “she was only a responsibility for the university as a bad example for other students”. To avoid being deported, the university demanded that she and the father of the unborn child be married immediately and the two agreed. After the baby was born, she claims that she “continued to demand that she be allowed to breastfeed or express her milk on campus for a period of six months before the University finally gave in and allowed her access. to its secure breastfeeding rooms “.

  • Jane Doe 6 – A 2013 Liberty student, she claims she was a lesbian who hadn’t gone out at the time and felt pressure from some in college to give up her sinful lifestyle. When she started dating a Liberty alumnus he raped her and when college told her she would be offered counseling she was instead confronted with Liberty for drinking and fined $ 500.

  • Jane Doe 7 – A Liberty student in 2014, was at a friend’s house off campus when she claims she was raped by her friend’s roommate. A member of the Student Conduct Office’s Appeal Board for Title IX cases, she had first-hand knowledge of the treatment of sexual assault victims by the university and, for this reason, made no report to the university on what had happened.

  • Jane Doe 8 – A Liberty employee from November 2008 to October 2011, she claimed to have been subjected to “widespread and systematic sexual harassment by her supervisor, Keith Anderson, in the form of sexually explicit comments directed against her and against students. and other supervisors.

  • Jane Doe 9 – A Liberty student from 2014 to 2019, she was dating her and later got engaged to another college student. After their engagement, she claims that her fiancé became abusive. He also happened to be well connected to high-level administrators at the university and so she felt “that a formal report to the university would be unnecessary, or could in fact result in retaliation against her.” Seeking advice after the two broke up, her assigned advisor “urged her to ‘move on’ and ‘leave her alone.’

  • Jane Doe 10 – A Liberty student in 2013, started dating another student who raped her off campus. “After [her] rape, his roommates – who recommended that he go out with his rapist – reported [her] at the Student Conduct Office. Although [she] attempted to make it clear that she had been a rape victim, the Liberty University Student Conduct Office gave her no opportunity to do so and, instead, forced her to sit down with her rapist and apologize to her roommates for her violation of the Liberty Way.

  • Jane Doe 11 – A 2018 Liberty student, she claims she was raped by her boyfriend, a member of the college wrestling team. She “refused to report her assault to Liberty University for fear that her prior consensual romantic conduct would be subject to sanctions by Liberty University.” After breaking up with him, she says he harassed her and a local court eventually issued a restraining order against him, which he still violated. She states that “the university has never offered [her] counseling, escorts, dorm or class schedule changes, or otherwise supported her during the Title IX investigation.

  • Jane Doe 12 – While a minor, she attended a summer debating camp offered by Liberty University in June and July 2000. On campus, she met a man whom she later learned was ‘this was Jessee Mathew Jr. bathroom. “She claims to have managed to escape him during the sexual assault and notified the police. An officer who she said identified herself as the chief of the Liberty University Police Department demanded that she and Matthew go in the same car as they went to the police station. “During questioning, the police asked her to write two written statements. separate, then accused her of fabricating her story when minor details between the two were not the same. ”Further, she says police pressured her to withdraw her claim, which ‘she was refused to eat or drink for eight hours and was never assessed by a child psychologist atre. She also claims that “the police refused to transport Doe 12 to the hospital and instead continued to harass her until she agreed to be photographed naked by a debate coach.”

Overall, the women are claiming seven charges against the university:

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  1. Deliberate indifference / hostile environment prior to the assault

  2. Deliberate indifference after the assault

  3. Hostile environment

  4. Reprisals

  5. Deliberate indifference / hostile environment of the pregnant and parental woman

  6. Negligence (except Title IX)

  7. An accusation in connection with the nude photographs taken of Jane Doe 12

The women are seeking a jury trial in their case against Liberty University.

Liberty University released this statement Tuesday afternoon in response to the lawsuit:

The allegations in the Jane Doe trial 1-12 v. Liberty University are deeply disturbing, if they turn out to be true. Many of the claims are the opposite of how the University’s policies and procedures have been designed to work over the years. Liberty has invested heavily in programs and staff to help maintain a safe campus and to support all victims of sexual assault who have come forward. Liberty has a strong policy of non-discrimination, which includes an amnesty policy to encourage victims to report without fear that their involvement in other activities such as alcohol consumption or extramarital sex will be penalized under the code. of honor of the students. This policy includes a fair process for resolving disputes regarding rape, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation, as well as the provision of supports where appropriate. It would be heartbreaking if these efforts had the results claimed in this lawsuit. We will immediately examine each of these statements to determine what needs to be done to make matters better, if they turn out to be true. Because the claims are made anonymously and go back many years, in one case more than two decades, it will take some time to sort them out.

Liberty University statement regarding Jane Does trial

Below you can read the full text of the lawsuit:

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