Liberty University Fined $14 Million Over Sexual Assault Cases

liberty university Sex Assaults

Liberty University, the private Christian university founded by pastor Jerry Falwell Sr., will pay the Department of Education a whopping $14 million fine after a years-long investigation found it violated the Clery Act, which regulates campus safety and sexual misconduct.

The 108-page final report issued Tuesday details 11 ways the university violated the Clery Act, from failing to maintain crime logs and records, to not issuing proper warnings or complying with sexual violence preventative measures. In particular, the way the evangelical school responded to cases of sexual assault was found to be especially lacking, with victims fearful to report their crimes and perpetrators receiving no discipline.

“In fact, over the course of this review period, several sexual assault victims were punished for violating the student code of conduct known as ‘The Liberty Way,’ while their assailants were left unpunished,” the report stated.

In addition to the fine, the school will have to spend $2 million to improve campus safety and compliance.

“Students, faculty, and staff deserve to know that they can be safe and secure in their school communities,” Richard Cordray, the chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, which conducted the investigation, said in a statement.

Formally known as the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, the 1990 landmark piece of legislation requires any higher education institution that receives public funds to disclose crimes that happen on or near campus.


The university responded to the settlement with a statement posted on the school’s website, alleging it was unfairly scrutinized and targeted by the Department of Education but agreed to comply with its demands. “Many of the Department’s methodologies, findings, and calculations in the report were drastically different from their historic treatment of other universities,” the statement read in part.

The $14 million fine is the largest ever imposed on an institution for violating the Clery Act, far outpacing the $4.5 million fined in 2019 to Michigan State University, which covered up Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of female gymnasts, and the $2.4 million fined to Pennsylvania State University in 2016 over Jerry Sandusky, an assistant football coach who was convicted of abusing 10 boys.

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