Two women involved in a lawsuit accusing Liberty University of mishandling their sexual assault cases have broken their silence.
In a gripping interview with Inside Edition, Chelsea Andrews and Heather Wendel—Jane Doe #7 and #13 respectively in the lawsuit—share their college rape stories and how Liberty responded.
Wendel says she was drugged and raped by multiple people in a horrific incident during her time at Liberty. But when she reported the crime to the university, officials refused to believe her.
“There (were) people that were there that were like, ‘Oh ya . . . you probably wanted it,” Wendel said. “My assailants were prayed for and let go back into society.”
Andrews says she was raped by a medical student, after having a glass of wine at an off-campus house. In tears, Andrews recalls that she didn’t report the crime because she feared Liberty would punish her for violating its honor code, the “Liberty Way,” which prohibits drinking.
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“I thought, ‘I’m going to get in trouble,’” Andrews said. “If I reported it, I was going to get punished.’”
Wendel added, “The punishment for drinking was the equivalent of the punishment for raping somebody.”
Liberty University President Jerry Prevo recently addressed the allegations against the university and pledged to offer amnesty to any student who reports abuse.
But he also warned would-be reporters: “If you’re doing something wrong, don’t claim that something happened to you that was false, alright?”
The Inside Edition report includes interviews with Zak Levitt from Gangster Capitalism and Heather Dreyfus of ProPublica, who both said they discovered a pattern of students fearing retribution for reporting their assaults.
In July, The Roys Report also published a story by a Liberty co-ed who said Liberty covered-up her 2005 gang rape. Despite the victim—“Jane Doe #2” in the lawsuit—reporting her assault to Liberty University police 16 years ago, Liberty University still refuses to acknowledge the crime.
Recently, Liberty called the allegations “deeply troubling, if they turn out to be true.”
Wendel said she’s infuriated by Liberty’s response. “How dare you tell us ‘if’ this happened to us,” Wendel added.
Also coming forward and revealing her identity is “Jane Doe #4” in the lawsuit— Adrianna Rice.
In the Inside Edition report, Rice shares an original song she says is her response to being assaulted at Liberty and discouraged from reporting the assault.
They women say that despite the obstacles they’ve faced, they’re going to continue pushing for justice.
“If they don’t want to believe us, we’re going to keep coming and we can make them believe us,” Andrews said.
“For many years, they’ve been sweeping things under the rug,” Wendel added. “And now, we’re lifting that rug up and seeing how much dirt and disgusting is underneath it.”
This article has been updated.