Liberty University is facing a Title IX lawsuit for enabling sexual abuse. Its a culmination of egregious policy that weaponized The Liberty Way against women. This blog believes that this will be the first of more lawsuits to come, especially as more people step forward. But accountability for Liberty is overdue and this is welcome news.
“Accountability breeds responsability.”
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 ESV
On July 20, 2021 a lawsuit against Liberty University was filed by twelve women who accused the university in a pattern of mishandling sexual abuse. They also accused Liberty of creating an environment that resulted in harassment and creating an unsafe environment. The lawsuit links a convicted rapist who attended Liberty University who was also involved in the murder of a Virginia Tech and University of Virginia student. This lawsuit is in federal court and filed in New York. The lawsuit alleges that the university made it “difficult or impossible” to report sex crimes due to how The Liberty Way was enforced. The lawsuit claims that women at Liberty were retaliated against, and that there was a “tacit policy” that favored men in discipline situations. “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 said. There are twelve Jane Does in the lawsuit reporting some horrific sexual abuse claims.
From Jane Doe 1 to Jane Doe 12 Some Lawsuit Highlights
This part of the post may be hard for some people to read. If you don’t want to read some graphic details then I recommend you move on to the next section. The details here I am going to highlight some of the most egregious claims made. In this section I am going to lean upon what has been written at The Friendly Atheist, and if you want to read the longer description I would encourage you to read their blog post in, “12 Women Sue Liberty U For Enabling Sexual Abuse; Their Stories Are Horrifying.”
- Jane Doe 1 – Liberty University employee said that Keith Anderson another employee forced himself on her and gave medicine that knocked her out. He allegedly touched her inappropriately. Employee was in United States on an H-1B visa which he said could result in her depuration. When Jane Doe 1 went to Liberty HR they defended Keith Anderson as a “Man of God.” Jane Doe 1 was denied promotion and then fired.
- Jane Doe 2 – Dealt with a stalker from outside the Liberty University campus. She reported the situation and school did not help. She was eventually raped and when she reported it, Liberty’s counselor said that if she didn’t like Liberty she can leave. Guilted her and made her feel responsible for the rape. Eventually left.
- Jane Doe 3 – Female drank alcohol at Liberty, she was eventually raped by another Liberty student who carried on a harassment campaign. Discouraged from reporting saying she would be found at fault because she drank alcohol. Attempted suicide and eventually dropped out.
- Jane Doe 4 – Liberty student was raped by a hockey student in back seat of car. University said neither was to approach the other student. He violated those orders while the school went after Jane Doe 4 in time. School said the rape was consensual sex and then the Liberty athlete retaliated by suing the female for a Title IX violation. She attempted suicide.
- Jane Doe 5 – Former Liberty “residential student” got pregnant by her boyfriend. Liberty gave her 24 hours to move out of the dorm as she was going to be evicted and expelled. School changed mind and said she could remain at Liberty is she married her boyfriend.
- Jane Doe 6 – Former Liberty “residential student” who was a lesbian. She was given a date rape drug and raped and then dropped off at her dorm. Liberty met with her where she was fined for drinking and told her transcript would not be released until she paid the fine. Jane Doe 6 transferred to another school.
- Jane Doe 7 – Liberty University student was raped by a Liberty student. She worked in the Title IX office and knew how worthless Title IX reports are at Liberty and didn’t report the assault.
- Jane Doe 8 – A former Liberty University employee, she was harassed by Keith Anderson. When she reported it Liberty did not do anything except report the accusation and share the information with Keith Anderson who stepped up the harassment campaign.
- Jane Doe 9 – A Liberty University student was engaged to be married but the relationship was declining. At a Liberty employee’s party, a drunk employee started talking about her wife’s boob job. Knowing there could be retaliation against her she stayed quiet. When relationship ended counselor told her to “move on” and “Leave it alone.”
- Jane Doe 10 – In time Liberty student was allegedly sexually assaulted by her boyfriend. He forced her to perform oral sex and other sex acts. He weaponized the Liberty Way and said that if she did not perform the sex acts he would report her for violating the Liberty Way and being sexual. She was raped at a wedding and the school did nothing upon hearing it.
- Jane Doe 11 – A Liberty student had a relationship with a Liberty wrestler. They had consensual sex, then later on she was allegedly raped by the Liberty athlete. She didn’t report the sexual assault because she was fearful Liberty would go after her for the consensual sex the first time. Soon the Liberty athlete began stalking her and she reported the situation and they told the two to “stay away” from each other.” She filed a restraining order which the Liberty athlete violated. Title IX was never offered.
- Jane Doe 12 – This situation ties the lawsuit to the Jesse Matthew crime. Matthias would be responsible for the murder of two other students in the Commonwealth of Virginia. After she reported Matthew’s behavior things got worse for her. Liberty Police were concerned that she was wearing pants in a building. Liberty Police badly mishandled a sexual assault and destroyed rape evidence in the process. I would read The Friendly Atheist write up for far more detail.
If you want to read more about the Liberty Title IX lawsuit you can go to the following news sources.
- AP, “Lawsuit against Liberty alleges mishandling of sex assaults.”
- Christianity Today, “A Dozen Female Victims Sue Liberty University Over Abuse Policies.”
- Julie Roys, “12 Women File Lawsuit vs Liberty U for Unsafe Environment, “Enabling On-Campus Rapes”
- Washington Post, “Lawsuit claims Liberty University mishandled sexual assault claims.”
- CNN, “Liberty University sued by 12 women claiming school policies made sexual assault and rape more likely.”
Some Closing Thoughts and Analysis
This blog welcomes this lawsuit and hopes that it is the first among many. This also blog believes that quite a few more will be filed as more people gather the courage to step forward. When you think of sex crimes, they are more likely to happen at Liberty University than University of Maryland – College Park, University of Virginia or Virginia Tech. Why? Liberty’s culture creates an environment that allows sex crimes to flourish. After all in fundamentalism sex is criminalized and the male is given the higher benefit of the doubt when things do happen. The system at Liberty is rigged and weighted in a toxic way. So expect more to come out of Liberty, as they surely will. Many of these lawsuits should also spur others. For example in these allegations of sex crimes, they should lead to a stricter examination of Liberty’s Police Department. Why are they certified? Let’s strip any certification. What about Liberty’s athletic program? Can’t Liberty face sanctions for athletes committing sex crimes? Penn State faced sanctions from the NCAA, why won’t Liberty? The culture at Liberty is toxic and more stories are going to emerge. Brace yourself. The tidal wave is coming and Liberty is going to be hit by much more legal action, and this blog thinks its past time that the questionable evangelical school be held accountable. And this may the first time that Liberty is held accountable for sex crimes in this context.