Va. college says student in rape case used ‘poor judgment’ and was warned

Posted at 12:35 AM, Nov 02, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-02 11:36:32-05

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Wesleyan College officials said they warned students that drinking at parties puts them more at risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault. But new court documents state a former student didn’t listen. WTKR first broke the story earlier this month after that student filed a lawsuit against the college using the name “Jane Doe.”

She said that as a freshman in 2012, she was drugged at a party.

The lawsuit alleges an upper-class lacrosse team member followed her from the party, forced her into his dorm and raped her. The lawsuit also stated the college knew rapes and sexual assaults were happening and did nothing. Thursday, a response to the lawsuit was filed in Norfolk on behalf of the college.

School officials say “Under Virginia law, VWC did not have a legal duty to warn or protect” its students. But, they insist they warned students anyway, “VWC properly advised [the] plaintiff that she was a member of the ‘at risk’ population and suggested a way to minimize the risk of rape or sexual assault – i.e., avoiding parties where alcohol was served.”

The response goes on to say “the plaintiff did not heed VWC’s advice” and instead “exercised poor judgment” but that “neither poor judgment nor any other shortcoming can justify the events that allegedly followed.”

As for her accused attacker, school officials admit they first expelled him but then changed their decision allowing him to withdraw from the college.

School officials don’t give a reason for their change of heart. But, according to college documents included in the original lawsuit they let the lacrosse player withdraw so he could go to school somewhere else.

Furthermore, the new documents describe coverage of this case as a “one-sided media circus” stating “To date, the Plaintiff and her counsel have made extensive efforts [to] ‘try’ this matter in the media and sway public opinion before any evidence has been presented.”

As a result, the college is asking the court to bring in potential jurors from outside of Hampton Roads to hear the case.