Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilitySettlement reached in claim Liberty University hid rapes, punished victims | WSET
Close Alert

Settlement reached in claim Liberty University hid rapes, punished victims

FILE PHOTO - Liberty University. (WSET)
FILE PHOTO - Liberty University. (WSET)
Facebook Share IconTwitter Share IconEmail Share Icon

After a year in national headlines for allegations of covering up rape, punishing victims, and using the "Liberty Way" to silence accusers, a settlement has been reached in a lawsuit against Liberty University.

All but two of the 22 women — known as the Jane Does — settled their lawsuit against Liberty.

"The case is now settled," said Jack Larkin, the attorney for the accusers.

RELATED: 'Weaponization of the Liberty Way:' LU punishes women reporting sex assaults, lawsuit says

Instead of taking the case to a judge or jury, Larkin said both sides came to an agreement, though the terms are confidential.

"While there are large provisions that the plaintiffs will continue to be able to talk about, there is no non-disclosure agreement that would prevent them from telling their stories in the future, but the terms of the settlement itself and the conduct of the mediation are both confidential," Larkin said.

The amount of money, if any, awarded to accusers was not made public. However, women who brought the lawsuit forward said in interviews that it was never about money.

RELATED: Liberty University facing federal investigation after sexual assault claims

The lawsuit was brought in July with detailed accusations of victim-blaming and failures to properly investigate claims, as alleged offenders were allowed to remain on campus.

“I feel like I totally slipped through the cracks," Jane Doe 11 said in an interview before the lawsuit was filed.

What the former students say happened to them at Liberty university put one of the largest evangelical Christian universities in the nation in the spotlight.

“It just boggles my mind that these people who claim to be Christians cared more about covering it up than they cared about actually helping me," Jane Doe 2 said in an interview before the lawsuit was filed.

One accuser said that when she reported that drugs were slipped into her drink before she was raped, LU fined her $500 for drinking alcohol.

The lawsuit claimed Liberty violated federal laws for failing to properly investigate their reports of assaults or rape.

Since the lawsuit was first filed, Liberty's president announced the university would spend more than $8 million to increase campus security.

RELATED: Liberty University could face serious fines in federal investigation

The Board of Trustees also approved an independent review of the school's Title IX policies.

Larkin said he's not sure what the next steps will be for the two women who did not settle their cases.

In a statement, Liberty University said it was committed to doing what it could to “make things right.”

The university also said its review of the Title IX department will aim at strengthening its policies, including mandatory training for students and employees.

They say their amnesty policy will be revised so that Liberty does not punish students who engage in behaviors, in connection with that sexual harassment and/or assault, that would have otherwise violated its student honor code.

Liberty stated they will be making donations to community sexual assault response programs, and review its own student counseling services to ensure there are services available by licensed mental health providers, including in rapid response scenarios resulting from sexual assault.

The university hopes that the measures that it undertook prior to the settlement convey the sincerity and seriousness they are using while approaching these concerns.

Loading ...