Fmr BJU student sues university, Furman, others, for ‘negligence’ after alleged sexual assault

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GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – A former Bob Jones University student has filed a lawsuit against Furman University, Furman University Police Department, Bob Jones University, a John Doe and Trevor Whitfield, claiming negligence, recklessness and other allegations following an alleged sexual assault.

According to the lawsuit, a male student, who was a member of Furman University’s football team, reportedly invited a female Bob Jones University student to Furman for a party, which she and her friend, also a student at BJU, went to Furman’s campus to attend on Oct. 6, 2019.

When they arrived, they found the party to be a small gathering, with seven members of Furman’s football team there.

The male student, known as John Doe in the lawsuit, reportedly gave the Bob Jones student, known as Jane Roe in the lawsuit, alcohol and marijuana, which reportedly caused her to be impaired.

According to the lawsuit, John Doe then took Jane Roe, her friend and two other football players to his apartment to watch music videos.

Jane Roe allegedly told John Doe that she didn’t feel well and he told her she could rest in his room.

“Doe then negligently and recklessly engaged in sexual intercourse with the plaintiff when a reasonable person would have known that the plaintiff was unable to consent,” according to the lawsuit.

Furman Police officers reportedly responded to John Doe’s apartment in regard to concerns that Jane Roe and her friend had been drugged and were involved in sexual acts that lacked consent.

While speaking with officers, Jane Roe and her friend told them they were worried about getting expelled from BJU if campus officials learned they had consumed alcohol.

According to the lawsuit, officer Trevor Whitfield reportedly called officials at BJU and told them the two students were intoxicated on Furman’s campus.

“Whitfield expressed disapproval that the plaintiff and Witness A had consumed alcohol and noted his disappointment in their behavior as an alumnus of Bob Jones University,” according to the lawsuit. “Upon information and belief, Whitfield notified Bob Jones because of his personal disapproval of the plaintiff’s and Witness A’s consumption of alcohol. In doing so, he was motivated by a reckless disregard for the plaintiff’s rights, well-being, and safety.”

The officers then reportedly told the women they could either go to the hospital or go to jail, and both elected to go to the hospital. Both were transported by EMS from Furman to Greenville Memorial Hospital.

According to the lawsuit, Jane Roe did not received medical treatment at that time, but later returned to the hospital for a sexual forensic exam.

Bob Jones’ Dean of Women reportedly tried to speak with Jane Roe at the hospital, and later scheduled a meeting with her and her mother, where Jane Roe was informed she was expelled for consuming alcohol.

“Bob Jones made the decision to expel the plaintiff without investigating the allegations against her, conducting any type of fact-finding investigation, or holding any type of hearing,” according to the lawsuit.

John Doe is also accused to recording some or all of his sexual contact with Jane Roe, and allegedly circulated the video to others without Jane Roe’s knowledge or consent, according to the lawsuit.

According to Furman spokesperson Tom Evelyn, John Doe is no longer a student at Furman University, and Whitford resigned from Furman in December and took a job at another law enforcement agency.

“Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the values of our community,” Evelyn said. “While we can’t speak to the specifics of this lawsuit or the investigation, we can say that the Furman University Police Department works closely with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Department and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that reports of sexual misconduct are thoroughly investigated.”

According to the lawsuit, all defendants reportedly “violated policies and procedures, and those violations contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries.”

Bob Jones University spokesperson Randy Page said the university does not comment on matters in litigation. He also said that the student in question was suspended for the remainder of the school year, not expelled, and that they could re-apply for the fall 2020 semester.

7News was unable to get in touch with Whitfield. Attorneys for the plaintiff did not respond to requests for interview.

Jane Roe’s attorneys said due to the negligent, grossly negligent and reckless acts and omissions by the defendants, she sustained the following injuries and damages:

  • Monetary damages,
  • Loss of impairment of earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Psychological trauma
  • Mental anguish
  • Mental distress
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional injury
  • Psychological injury
  • Depression
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Other damages to be shown through discovery and at trial

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff believes she is entitled to actual and punitive damages.

Read the full lawsuit below:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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