Andrews Wendel Liberty University Sex Assault
Plaintiffs in the "Jane Doe" lawsuit against Liberty University, Chelsea Andrews (left) and Heather Wendel (right), tell their story to Inside Edition.

‘Jane Does’ in Liberty U Sex Assault Case Break Silence: ‘My assailants were prayed for and let go’

By Julie Roys

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.

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18 thoughts on “‘Jane Does’ in Liberty U Sex Assault Case Break Silence: ‘My assailants were prayed for and let go’”

  1. Somehow this says it all….

    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?”

    Given LU’s student population I’d venture to guess that sexual assaults are most likely under-reported rather than falsely reported.

    After all Jane Doe #7 disclosed being fearful of reporting given her 1 glass of wine.

  2. James Lutzweiler

    “Raped by multiple people during her time at Liberty”?

    Pray tell, how many Rapes does one need to have happen before reporting it? My answer is: once.

    We need a good cross-examination here.

    James Lutzweiler

    1. James I am sure there will be due dilligence.

      For your clarification, what occurred is what is referred to as ‘gang’ rape. Please be kind to the victims.

    2. I took that to mean that it was essentially a gang rape. One incident with several perpetrators. But it could have been made clearer to be sure.

    3. She was drugged and gang raped on one occasion while she was a student. The video makes this clear.

      I find your response troubling on multiple levels.

    4. I have updated the copy to reflect that the victim was raped by multiple people in one incident, not multiple incidents, during her time at Liberty. My apologies if the original copy was unclear. That said, I find the tone of your comment concerning, James.

      1. James Lutzweiler

        Thank you, Julie. There is no need for the concern you express, as if I am some bad guy. I replied to the wording which I see you have now revised. A HUGE difference, would you not agree? I don’t think I have the cold heart attributed to me by other respondents herein. Multiple rapes are far different than one rape by multiples. This is a no brainer and the original wording was terribly misleading. The original was NOT unclear. It was very clear. But it was clearly wrong and to call it wrong rather than unclear is the correct correction.

        James

        1. Before posting your comment, and questioning the veracity of a rape survivor, I’m surprised you didn’t watch the video I posted. Again, I take responsibility for the original wording. But I would also urge caution when accusing a rape survivor of fabricating her story.

          1. James Lutzweiler

            Thank you, Julie.

            I did not accuse any rape victim of fabricating a story. All I did was raise the question of why a rape victim would go back for more rapes. That is a perfectly valid question. Because I raised that question your original wording has been corrected and the problem has evaporated.

            I had no time to watch the video. The description you gave was sufficient for my response.

            James

    5. I was taken aback also, but I think this is a case of imprecise wording. I think what was being said was, “During her time at Liberty, she was a victim of rape involving multiple individuals (aka a gang rape).

  3. My understanding is that LUPD has sole jurisdiction over any crimes reported on Liberty campus so if LUPD will not accept a report there is no way for a crime to be prosecuted. I am told this is very unusual as most colleges have concurrent jurisdiction we it’s the local police department, in this case Lynchburg PD. I tried to report a crime to Lynchburg PD after LUPD refused the report & LPD told me they had no jurisdiction.

    In my case I found out that when a crime is committed using internet or phone jurisdiction is where the VICTIM is not the offender & there is no statute of limitations in my state. So I’m likely to try reporting again

  4. Susan Vonder Heide

    If an institution is incapable of distinguishing between an underage glass of wine and a forcible rape, it’s hard to see how it can consider itself Christian. God does not trivialize evil.

  5. I don’t pretend to be a legal scholar on matters of who can bring criminal charges. Yet common sense tells me yet there are NO exclusion zones, we are all “under” the laws of a city,town,county,or state.Finally, we can face federal charges.

    At first glance it appears that Lynchburg failed the victim because they are the first line of defense in seeking justice for a rape victim.If Liberty University has an actual statue approved POLICE. Dept., then Liberty PD failed the victim because Liberty’s PD would have to operate and abide under all of the state laws and statutes just as every law enforcement agency in the state.

    Ethically speaking….at a minimum Liberty was a mandatory reporter of a sex crime…even if Liberty has a Public Safety unit (a department with no arresting powers or ability to refer charging decisions to a district attorney )

    The time has come for all types of Christian institutions to come clean, STOP concerning yourselves with images and appearances and reputations.

    The only reputation that is needed by anyone or any institutions is one of HONESTY AT ALL COSTS. Stay true to God’s Word, don’t fall away.

    With love,
    Kevin

  6. Poor young ladies,

    I am rooting for them and that Justice will prevail!

    It is really difficult to listen to their stories. I am so sorry this happened to Chelsea and Heather.

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