LIBERTY, MO (KCTV) -- William Jewell College has moved to dismiss an ongoing rape lawsuit, saying the school can't be expected to protect its students from third-party crimes.
The Liberty school filed the motion in federal court earlier this week, citing previous Missouri precedent that schools can't be held accountable for the criminal acts of third parties. The judge in the case has not yet ruled on the motion, and there is no court date set yet.
A female student filed a lawsuit last month against William Jewell, saying the college didn't do enough to stop her rape at the hands of a man who was previously known to have committed sex-related crimes. She also claimed the school threatened to expel her if she talked about her sexual assault.
In the lawsuit, the victim alleged neglect on the part of the school, saying William Jewell knew of two previous instances of sexual misconduct involving the football player, and did not take the steps to remove him from campus or stop him from committing further sex-related crimes on campus.
In one instance, the male student allegedly shot video of two fellow students having sex through the blinds of a window without the consent of the couple, then disseminated the video. In another instance, while the male student was a senior at high school, he was barred from his high school campus because of an "unauthorized sexual act," according to the lawsuit.
The woman's lawsuit claims William Jewell's lack of action, despite knowing of these two prior incidents, led to the man's continued access to the dorm where he would eventually allegedly rape the victim.
The school's motion to dismiss addresses this allegation, appearing to say the two students being filmed having sex did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy because they didn't appear to be trying to keep it private. The college states in its motion that the sexual encounter happened on the ground floor of the dorm around 9 p.m. with the windows open and the blinds only partially drawn. The two were also allegedly being loud. The motion claims a group of students had gathered to watch and listen, and that the alleged rapist took a video that only shows the couple's legs during the incident.
The college's motion to dismiss also states the victim's claim for Title IX relief should be denied because she's no longer a student and has shown no plans to re-enroll.
The alleged rape happened Oct. 1, 2017, in a dorm room on campus. The victim said she had been drinking with her friends and was back at the dorm to eat and watch a movie in her room.
She said the alleged rapist gave her a big unwelcomed hug, then came into her dorm room uninvited. Despite efforts to get him to leave, the man stayed while the friends watched a movie. At some point, the victim said she fell asleep and woke up to the man raping her.
The lawsuit chronicles the incident, while identifying the alleged rapist only as "Z.P.":
At some point in the middle of the night-time hours, Plaintiff woke up on her side and realized the blanket was unrolled, she was undressed and Z.P. was forcibly having vaginal intercourse with Plaintiff. 59. Plaintiff attempted to shove Z.P. off her but was unsuccessful as she was fading in and out of consciousness and Z.P. was physically much larger and stronger than Plaintiff. 60. Plaintiff came in and out of consciousness multiple times throughout this sexual assault and every time yelled out “NO! STOP! I DON’T WANT THIS!” and during her last state of consciousness saw Z.P. using her shirt to wipe semen off himself and Plaintiff. 61. During her states of consciousness while the assault was ongoing, Plaintiff tried to push Z.P. off her and continually told him to stop. 62. Plaintiff’s roommate heard Plaintiff yelling “NO! STOP!” at various points during the night. 63. Plaintiff woke up the next morning completely nude lying on the bed. Z.P. had already left the room by the time Plaintiff woke up for the day, around 8:00 am. 64. On October 1, 2017, Plaintiff reported to Liberty Hospital and underwent a sexual assault forensic examination, otherwise known as a “rape kit”. 65. On or about October 4, 2017, Plaintiff reported the rape to the Liberty, Missouri Police Department.
The male student accused of rape left school and went back home to Texas the day after the school released the findings of its investigation and validated the victim's report of rape and sexual assault.
The female student had also claimed in her lawsuit that school administrators threatened to expel her if she told anyone about the rape other than a therapist or medical professional
The lawsuit seeks $75,000 for the victim.
KCTV5 received a statement from William Jewell College following the initial reporting of the lawsuit in May:
While Federal privacy laws limit our ability to comment on the specifics of this case, at William Jewell College the safety and security of our students is our top priority. We have a zero-tolerance policy related to sexual misconduct and have a comprehensive Title IX program in place that guides our response to any incident or allegation. As part of our commitment to our students, we also have support services and counseling available, mandatory training for faculty, staff, and students, and a strong partnership with the Liberty Police Department. William Jewell College believes we all have a responsibility to work every day to eliminate sexual misconduct from our campus and maintain a safe and healthy environment.