Woman files lawsuit against Old Dominion University over response after sex assault

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University is being sued by a woman who claims that the school mishandled a rape case and violated federal law.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court Friday, alleges that campus police interrogated the woman, who was an 18-year-old freshman at the school, for eight hours after she reported she had been raped on campus in October 2014.

The complaint details the circumstances surrounding the violent rape and states that there were not any school personnel in the residence hall when the assault took place.

The victim contacted a local rape crisis center where a counselor made an appointment for her to have a forensic examination at a hospital and encouraged her to call the police.

The complaint states that the victim called 911 and the operator routed her call to the ODU Police Department. ODU Police arranged to pick up the victim on campus and then took her to the on-campus police department instead of to her appointment at the hospital.

According to the court document, the victim was held at the police department for about eight hours where she was interrogated while detectives expressed “open skepticism” about her allegations of being sexually assaulted despite having collected physical evidence from her room that corroborated her report.

The complaint states that Detective Robert Taylor told the victim he “just [didn’t] see the crime here,” after the victim had recounted the attack in detail multiple times.

The lawsuit also alleges that the victim was denied food, water, bathroom and medical assistance.

The complaint also states that the suspect was brought in for questioning and allowed food and drink and allowed to leave, all while the victim was still being held.

After eight hours at the police station, the victim was escorted to a medical center where forensic evidence indicated that she had injuries consistent with a violent rape.

Click here to read the entire lawsuit.

The woman is asking for $75,000 in damages and has asked ODU to make several changes in how they handle reports of sex assaults.

Previous coverage:

Complaint: Student was interrogated by ODU campus police for 8 hours after reporting rape