INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The parents of a former Butler University student told FOX59 their daughter felt “defeated” after they claim the school botched her rape allegation.
The allegation is now being investigated by the Marion County Prosecutor's Office which will decide if any charges should be filed.
The parents, who wish not to be named, said their daughter was 18 years old when she was allegedly raped at a fraternity house at Butler in December of 2016. According to her Title IX complaint, the girl said she kept telling the man "I'm not having sex with you" and that she needed to go find a friend. However, she said, he forced himself on her.
The girl said she told Butler faculty she was raped, but no one gave her any information about the options available to her, including her option to file a police report. Federal law mandates universities inform students of their options if there is a rape allegation.
When someone did inform the Title IX Coordinator, the family said that coordinator met with the girl more than 72 hours after the alleged rape. The parents said that delay may hurt her case, because she wasn't able to collect forensic evidence in time.
“She was not counseled to file a criminal report. She was not given a booklet of all your rights and options. She was, the Title IX officer sort of took a laissez-faire attitude in terms of meeting with her, met with her several days later," explained the girl's father. "(The Title IX Coordinator) should have been there five minutes, five minutes later at her doorstep. It’s just sort of, and that’s endured all the way through the process.”
The parents even sent FOX59 an email from the Title IX Coordinator in which there is an admission that the office had received a report about the same young man before this incident.
Now they are wondering if their daughter's pain could've been prevented and how many other girls at Butler are suffering the same trauma?
“How many girls are out there where nobody either believes them or nobody knows how to help them?" asked the girl's mother. "I mean there’s no way to know, right? Until somebody speaks up and says 'Hey, this is not right.'"
The parents said the accused rapist was kicked out of school, but they want justice in the courtroom.
Butler did issue a response via an emailed statement to FOX59:
It is a disheartening reality that sexual harassment and sexual violence are prevalent on college campuses, and Butler is certainly not immune to this. I’m truly saddened when I hear that any member of our community has suffered.
The safety and well-being of our students is, and always has been, our top priority. We work tirelessly to create an environment where our campus community is confident that reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence will be handled with professionalism, expediency, and sensitivity; an environment that acknowledges the magnitude of a personal decision to report sexual violence and be committed to removing any barriers to reporting. If we have failed one person in these efforts, we have failed our entire community.
We are aware that we can always better ourselves. In no area is this more important than sexual harassment and sexual violence. This is an ever-changing area that impacts so much of our campus community, and as a result, we must always look to improve.
One way of doing this is by listening to feedback from our campus community, as well as looking at what other institutions are doing to address sexual violence on campus. We are always looking critically at our policies and programs to improve.
As part of our ongoing comprehensive approach to preventing sexual assault on campus, we remain committed, as always, to providing the necessary resources. This includes a Prevention Educator and Victim Resource Specialist that members of the Butler campus community can contact 24-hours a day, seven days a week, engaging the Butler community in over 80 prevention, awareness and education activities, as well as partnering with community organizations such as Julian Center and ICESA, or the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault. For more information and an exhaustive list of resources, please visit https://www.butler.edu/respect.
It is our hope that through these efforts we can reduce the number of sexual assaults on our campus and foster a culture of compassion where every member of our community feels safe and supported.
This isn't the first time the university has been accused of mishandling a sexual assault claim. In 2014, a student accused the school of "sweeping it under the rug." The Marion County prosecutor did not file charges against the person the woman accused, after they said there wasn't enough evidence. University officials said at the time they were confident in the way the investigation was handled.