Education Department Investigates Liberty University’s Handling of Sexual Assault

The Education Department launched an investigation into Liberty University’s handling of sexual assault allegations, ProPublica reports.

ProPublica last year reported that the Jerry Falwell-founded college had discouraged students who tried to report sexual assault.

Some students who reported sexual assault were urged to sign forms admitting that they might have broken the school’s moral code of conduct.

Others told the outlet that they were encouraged to pray instead of reporting the sexual assaults.

DOE probe:

Federal law requires colleges that get federal funds to properly investigate sexual assault allegations.

Liberty students told ProPublica that federal agents have visited the campus in Lynchburg, Virginia.

An email reviewed by the outlet shows that the DOE reached out to student advocates to arrange meetings.

“Liberty University welcomes the U.S. Department of Education’s review of our Clery Act compliance program,” the school said in a statement.

“I’m glad the Department of Education is investigating Liberty’s handling of sexual assault,” Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine told ProPublica. “I hope the Department looks into it thoroughly.”


A former Liberty student also filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the school of failing to properly investigate her rape allegation a year earlier.

The student said she was “brutally raped and sexually assaulted” by a classmate off-campus and claimed the school failed to investigate and retaliated against her for violating the code of conduct because she was at a party with alcohol.

The lawsuit says Liberty failed to “provide accommodations for her emotional, physical, psychological suffering.”

“Despite their knowledge of the incident, Liberty failed to investigate the matter and did not take any action or protective measures in response. Instead, Liberty demonstrated systematic deliberate indifference, retaliated against the Plaintiff, and perpetuated a sexually hostile and dangerous environment on and around campus,” the complaint alleged.


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