A Massachusetts college is alleging a student who was raped at a party is partly responsible because she was intoxicated and chose to follow a stranger onto a rooftop, according to court documents.
The Boston Globe reported Tuesday Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) made the arguments in response to a civil lawsuit filed last year in which the victim claims the college failed to provide a safe environment for its students.
The documents states that the school argues the victim made some risky choices that night and that the woman disregarded instructions and training on how to protect herself in a potential harmful situation.
President Laurie Leshin said the legal document was prepared by an insurance carrier and wasn’t approved by the college. She said the college would never blame a victim for being raped.
The Globe reported that the victim’s lawyers said in a statement that the school’s apparent argument is an attempt to harass, intimidate and re-victimize her.
Colby Bruno, a consultant for the woman’s attorney in the case, told the Globe the WPI lawsuit should set a precedent by ruling that a rape victim can’t be held responsible for the crime.
“No one can contribute to their own rape, no matter what, because everyone has the right to be free from rape,” she said.
The woman in the case said she was assaulted by a security guard in 2012 at a college-leased apartment building in Puerto Rico.
William Rodriguez, the security guard, was convicted by a Puerto Rican jury for the crime and is serving a 20-year sentence.
Court documents state that Rodriguez was formerly a police officer but was convicted of selling bullets to an undercover official.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.