Family of former UA student to file Title IX complaint, following suicide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The family of Megan Rondini, a former student at the University of Alabama, plans to file a federal Title IX complaint against the school, according to their lawyer.

Rondini was a student at the University in 2015 when she said she was sexually assaulted by TJ Bunn Jr., a member of a prominent Tuscaloosa family. The case was recently revisited by a Buzzfeed News article. 

Leroy Maxwell, a Birmingham attorney representing Rondini’s family and estate, told CBS 42 he plans to file the complaint by July 2 at the latest.

He said that had the university provided more support to Rondini following her encounter with Bunn, she may have never committed suicide.

“There were steps — plain, obvious steps that could have been taken by so many folks and entities to prevent (the Rondinis’) daughter from ultimately taking her life, due to the trauma, the stress that this assault put on her, and the helplessness that she felt,” Maxwell said. “The family’s outraged. We’re all outraged. And we’re really — what’s important right now is that we really need to do something to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The University of Alabama and TJ Bunn Jr.’s attorney have both released statements on the 2016 suicide of Megan Rondini.

You can read both statements below.

UA Statement in Response to Recent Media Reports

June 23rd, 2017

The University of Alabama has been deeply saddened by the death of Megan Rondini, and we continue to offer our sympathy to her friends and family.

Information published by news outlets this week has unfortunately ignored some significant facts. When Megan went to the hospital, a University advocate met her at the hospital to provide support and stayed with her throughout the examination process. Megan also received information from University representatives regarding services available to her on campus, including counseling through the University’s Women & Gender Resource Center.  When she sought counseling and her first therapist identified a potential conflict as defined by her professional obligations, Megan was immediately introduced to another therapist, who provided care and support. Additionally, the UA Title IX Office was in contact with Megan, including offering academic accommodations and helping to streamline her withdrawal when Megan elected to return to Texas.

Because the reported incident occurred off-campus, the University’s police department was not involved in the formal criminal investigation.

We hope these recent news accounts, which do not tell the full story, will not discourage others from reporting sexual assault or seeking help and support.

The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.


Statement Regarding Accusations Against T.J. Bunn and other Tuscaloosa Institutions June 24, 2017

An internet blog article attacking the Bunn family, the University of Alabama, DCH Regional Medical Center, the Tuscaloosa Homicide Unit and the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office is an intentional distortion of facts in a tragic case. The writer has distorted or disregarded matters of fact and in doing so has potentially defamed an honest man, a reputable family, and institutions that are the foundation of our community.

The article paints a picture of a young woman essentially being abducted against her will; but here are the facts:

• The young woman invited TJ Bunn and another companion to her apartment where they shared drinks. She then left her apartment with Bunn of her own free will.

• While a police investigation found no evidence of sexual assault, the young woman admitted to acts that subjected her to possible criminal prosecution.

• At one point, the young woman’s family took steps to bring civil action against various parties who are the targets of these unfounded accusations. Such action would undoubtedly include demands for financial compensation.

• This matter was presented to a Grand Jury and they found no legal grounds to pursue the case.

It is tragic that this young woman took her own life, but defaming an entire city, its leaders, its institutions and a prominent family brings no honor to this tragedy and no justice for anyone.

 

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