Rape Victim has 21 Days to Make Case
A Fredericksburg Circuit Court judge recommended that a $10 million lawsuit brought against the University of Mary Washington be dismissed, ruling that UMW does not have a legal obligation to protect a student who was raped, according to Attorney Lewis Lowery.
Judge Gordon Willis ruled that there is no special relationship between a rape victim and UMW. Willis therefore sided with the Attorney General’s Office, who is representing UMW, according to Lowery, who represented the student.
The Attorney General’s Office is representing UMW against the $10 million lawsuit, since UMW is a state school.
The lawsuit was in response to a former student’s sexual assault on Oct. 3, 2008 at 2 a.m. in the parking garage.
The victim is not named because it is the Bullet’s policy to not name victims.
The original lawsuit was filed against the university on Nov. 30, 2010 alleging negligence in providing a secure environment for students.
The lawsuit blamed the university for not monitoring dangerous areas and providing adequate security devices.
The Attorney General’s Office asked that the case be dismissed in the beginning of March citing that there is no special relationship between the student and UMW. They also said that UMW had no knowledge that an attack could occur, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
According to Lowery, he now has until April 11 to note his objections, and 21 days to file an amended complaint.
“A decision was made, but sometimes they can change their mind,” said Lowery.
Depending on what Lowery alleges, the judge will either make a decision outside of court or allow the Attorney General’s Office to respond.
“We continue to believe that what we alleged is true,” said Lowery.
Lowery said if the case is dismissed, there are other options available to continue the legal process.