A new investigative report published by ProPublica on Monday claims that Liberty University threatened to punish students who came forward with reports of being raped.
Citing records from more than a dozen cases and interviews with more than 50 former students and staffers at Liberty University, ProPublica reported the school discouraged and dismissed students who came forward with allegations of rape, stating that in some cases they said they were fined and threatened with punishment for breaking the school’s moral code, known as the Liberty Way.”
The publication cited three students who said they were “asked to sign forms upon reporting their rape incidents recognizing that they could be penalized for breaking the school’s ethics code.” Potential infractions at the evangelical university included premarital sex.
Other students who said they were raped told the news outlet they were advised to not report their incident, and some students claimed that university police officers dissuaded them from filing charges.
Other students said they were penalized after reporting their assaults.
One student told the publication that she was fined $500 after making the report and was ordered to attend counseling. She said she was required to pay the fine or else she would not receive her transcript.
The students also told ProPublica that the university faculty ofter remained silent after a report was made, despite being legally required to report the conversations to the Title IX office. Additionally, the students were not told they had the option of going to the police with their claims, as required by the Clery Act.
Read the entire report at ProPublica.