ODU student: On-campus rape followed by 8-hour interrogation

13News Now Eric Kane has the story

RICHMOND, Va. (WVEC) -- An Old Dominion University student who told 13News Now nearly two years ago that someone raped her in her dorm filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education Wednesday.

The filing came on the two-year anniversary of the date when the rape was to have taken place -- October 12, 2014.

In the complaint -- in which she is identifed as "Jane Doe" -- she says that campus police prevented her from getting a medical examination to preserve evidence of the alleged attack until after she was interrogated for almost eight hours.

She told federal education officials that ODU officers also did not give her any written information about her right to seek a protective order against the person she said attacked her. She also accused university officials of mishandling the case.

When 13News Now spoke to the student after the attack, she said, "They made me believe, they even said, 'We're going to be your heroes through all this, and I think they were his hero more than mine."

During that exclusive interview, she added, "I have post-traumatic stress disorder, and I'm always thinking about this. It's day to day. It's every day. It's all I think about." 

The complaint states the woman told campus police that she had an appointment at a local medical center for a forensic exam after the attack. She contends instead of allowing her to go to the appointment officers took her to headquarters and held her there for nearly eight hours, denying her food, water, and access to the bathroom in between interrogations.

A personal statement that was included with the complaint. In that statment, the woman said the detectives made comments and asked questions that made her feel like she was "being violated again," including "Do you like rough sex?" and "I'm just trying to find the crime here."

She wrote, "After the entire day of being victimized by your police department, I was left feeling paranoid and scared as if I was the criminal."

The woman says ODU violated the Clery Act, which, in part, requires schools to inform victims about counseling services, their options to notify law enforcement after an assault and options for changing their living situation.

The complaint says the woman was not told about her right to get a protective order against her alleged attacker — who wasn't an ODU student — after ODU Police declined to seek one on her behalf. That forced her to "live on campus for months in fear that her attacker could return and harm her at any moment," the complaint said.

The woman says she wasn't permitted to move out of the dorm room where she was attacked until after she received a diagnosis for a psychological condition and that her assault wasn't added to the school's daily crime log until 13News Now asked about it.

The complaint reads: "Had Ms. Doe known about her right to decline to report to law enforcement prior to receiving a forensic examination and medical care, she would have been able to attend her appointment at a local medical center to receive care for her injuries and bleeding after her rape on campus," said the complaint. 

"What really made me upset was I felt like ODU is not taking my case seriously," she told 13News Now at the time of the interview with her. "I feel like no one knows, no one -- even in the dorm I'm staying in -- knows a girl got raped a door down."

ODU spokeswoman Giovanna M. Genard provided 13News Now with this statement:

Old Dominion University has zero tolerance for sexual assault. The University is committed to following all legal requirements for investigating complaints of sexual assault and to treating victims with care, professionalism and respect. Old Dominion University is in receipt of the complaint. Due to the legal nature of the claim, no further comment will be issued at this time.

Laura Dunn, the attorney representing Jane Doe, said the federal filing is the first step in holding ODU accountable for the alleged rape.

Each of the 11 violations alleged carry a $35,000 fine.

 


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