On Wednesday, August 12, Virginia Wesleyan College released a statement from it’s legal counsel in response to what the attorneys called “inaccurate or misleading stories” published by the media, which have lead “to a rush to judgment on the part of some readers and viewers.”
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The attorney representing the victim in an alleged rape at Virginia Wesleyan College says he is working to keep her sexual history a secret.
In a Norfolk courtroom Monday, both sides of the lawsuit argued over the relevancy of the alleged victim’s list of sexual partners and if it should be released. The attorney for Virginia Wesleyan said they need it to build their defense, but the victim’s attorney, Jonathan Halperin, says the college’s request is offensive.
Halperin’s client claims she hasn’t been the same since August 24, 2012, the night she says she was repeatedly assaulted in a fellow student’s dorm room. She believes a drug was put in her drink that left her unable to fight back. She also claims Virginia Wesleyan created an atmosphere that led to her rape on campus, three days into her freshman year.
So, she’s suing the college for $10 million in damages, in part, because she said she was left with permanent scars.
The school says it’s not responsible, if a rape took place.
“The school’s attorneys’ attempt to question a rape victim on this private and sensitive matter is neanderthal and offensive,” he said. “Jane Doe was raped by a stranger. Her sexual history is irrelevant.”
Andrew Lucchetti, who also represents the victim, told the judge Monday morning that the request is an “unnecessarily broad interrogation into her sexual history.” He wanted the judge to deny the college from what he calls action that is intended “to harass and intimidate the victim.”
“The lawyers for Virginia Wesleyan College are just doing their job, however, I think what they’ve asked for is just to much,” Lucchetti said.
Attorney’s for Virginia Wesleyan said they need her sexual history. They say they know it is a sensitive subject, but they want the information to properly investigate and defend the lawsuit.
“Miss Doe is seeking money damages based, in part, on the following claims: she is unable to have sex, does not have any interest in sex, and has experienced difficulties in romantic relationships due to her inability to have sex and lack of interest in sex,” said attorney Mark Nanavait. “Given the significance of these claims in a case where $10 million is at issue, Virginia Wesleyan has to investigate these claims like any other claims Miss Doe is making in order to properly investigate and defend this suit. I can assure you it is for no other purpose.”
The judge made it clear on Monday that if you’re asking for damages, the other side should have the information it needs to defend. Both sides decided the best thing to do is go back and narrow the claim for damages.
“That way I think we can successfully limit what Virginia Wesleyan College is able to inquire into and limit Jane Doe’s exposure,” Lucchetti said.