Liberty University professor charged with kidnapping, sexual assault on student – .

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Liberty University professor charged with kidnapping, sexual assault on student – .


A Liberty University professor is charged with kidnapping and sexually assaulting a student, according to Evangelical School and Court records in Lynchburg, Virginia.

The man, William Atwell, was arrested late last month on charges of sexual violence and forcible abduction, court records show. He has been released on bail and is due back in court on January 25.

Court records indicate that an incident of sexual assault occurred in September and a forcible abduction took place on November 19, the day before campus police arrested Atwell.

Atwell’s profile had been removed from Liberty’s website on Thursday, but a remaining page on the site indicates that he is a professor of American Sign Language in the university’s modern languages ​​department.

Atwell did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. A statement from a university spokesperson said he had been suspended.

“The University of Liberty takes nothing more seriously than asserting that a faculty member has had inappropriate sexual contact with one of our students, something for which there is zero tolerance,” said the spokesperson.

“With the student’s consent, the university referred the case to the relevant judicial authorities and the faculty member in question was arrested,” the spokesperson added.

ProPublica reported in late October that more than 50 Liberty alumni and staff spoke about a culture at school in which leaders discourage women from reporting sexual assault.

The students said they were fired or threatened with punishment after reporting cases of rape and sexual abuse. School officials are said to be referring to the school’s moral code, “The Liberty Way,” which prohibits premarital sex and alcohol consumption, and blames women for breaking the code, the school said. ProPublica survey.

Meanwhile, many men accused of the attacks have left without consequences, according to women who spoke to ProPublica.

A complaint filed in July by 12 former students and Liberty employees said the honor code made it “difficult or impossible” for students to report sexual violence. The Title IX lawsuit also alleged “public and repeated retaliation against women who reported their victimization.”

A situation report filed in October said 10 other women had made similar demands. Some of the women were currently Liberty students.

The school did not counter the costume. Liberty President Jerry Prevo said in a statement in July that “the allegations in the Jane Doe 1-12 lawsuit against Liberty University are deeply troubling, if they turn out to be true.”

“A lot of the claims are the opposite of how the University’s policies and procedures have been designed to work over the years,” he wrote. “The University of Liberty will not tolerate Title IX violations, sexual abuse or sexual assault in any form at any time. “

Scott Lamb, who was Liberty’s communications chief until early this year, also sued the school, alleging he was fired for voicing his concerns to Liberty executives about how they were treating reports of sexual assault.

In a counter-suit, Liberty said Lamb’s claims were “libelous” and “false.”

A school spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on the lawsuits and the ProPublica article on Thursday.

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