Liberty University verbally commits to hiring third-party investigation into sexual assault allegations

In a lawsuit, 12 different women detailed Title IX offenses connected to alleged incidents of sexual assault

LYNCHBURG, Va. – Following a sexual assault lawsuit against Liberty University, school leaders have verbally committed to hiring a third-party investigation into those allegations.

10 News was on campus Thursday evening where advocates held a prayer rally after a call to action.

Alumni, students and other advocates used the gathering as a message urging the university to conduct a third-party investigation, seeking truth and accountability for abuse survivors.

Forty minutes into a Thursday news conference, a representative from the student-led group “Justice of Janes” says they received a phone call from campus minister Jonathan Falwell who said the executive committee is vowing to bring the decision to the board on Friday.

This comes after the Jane Doe lawsuit was filed in July, in which a group of 12 women claimed that “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 representative for “Justice for Janes,” Hailey Wilkinson, says an independent investigation is the number one thing on their audit.

“Granted, anything is up for change. I don’t know what the board will say. I don’t know what the executive committee will do tomorrow, but as of today, it is a step in the right direction,” said Wilkinson.

Also in attendance was Attorney Rachael Denhollander who became internationally known for her work in accusing U.S. gymnastics, Dr. Larry Nassar.

She says she is “deeply encouraged” by this latest news from the university, but there are many steps left to make sure this is properly done.

Denhollander also says she met with university president Jerry Prevo, who also was in attendance at the prayer rally, for about 90 minutes earlier on Thursday. She believes he is committed to righting the wrong of the past.

The day before this prayer rally, Prevo spoke to a group of students during convocation as he detailed plans to make Liberty safer. He referenced the lawsuit saying “I can tell you this we’re not going to try and cover up anything. We’re going to look back have that investigated and also if we’ve done wrong we’re going to correct that wrong the best we can.”


About the Authors

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.

Nicole Del Rosario joined WSLS 10 in August 2020.

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