Liberty University received criticism following allegations that it punished students who claimed to be victims of rape.
The Virginia university is accused of dismissing and discouraging students who alleged they were raped because those supposed victims were violating the school's moral code, or "Liberty Way," according to the testimony of 50 former students and faculty members in a Monday report.
Accusers were asked to sign paperwork when they reported rape incidents, saying they recognized they did so at the risk of penalty for breaking the school ethics code, the report said.
These violations might include drinking while underage and premarital sex, ProPublica reported.
Two students reportedly said they were similarly punished after they reported their incidents, with one stating she was fined $500 and mandated to attend counseling for drinking.
Several students alleged that university police officers deterred them from filing charges, according to the report.
Separate allegations against Liberty state that it misrepresents victims' testimony of rape incidents and does not tell victims they have the option to seek police assistance.
The photos a student submitted of her bruised body were taken out of her case file given their "explicit" nature, Elizabeth Axley, the victim of a 2017 assault, reported.
At least a dozen students are suing Liberty over the near impossibility to report occurrences of sexual violence.
The "public and repeated retaliation against women who did report their victimization" constituted an unsafe campus environment, according to the lawsuit.
The university engaged in a "conspiracy of silence," said former senior vice president of communications at Liberty Scott Lamb.
"Concerns about sexual assault would go up the chain and then die," Lamb, who was fired earlier in 2021, said.
Liberty University officials called the allegations "deeply troubling" in a statement shared with the Washington Examiner.
"Liberty University prefers not to issue public comment on litigation, but the university would like to affirm its commitment to take all allegations of sexual assault seriously and in accordance with the law," said a university spokesperson.
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Original Author: Luke Gentile
Original Location: Liberty University accused of punishing students who reported rape incidents