Liberty University says two football players have been suspended from the team after an investigation connected them to an alleged sexual assault last year.
The school said in a statement that football players Cameron Jackson and Kyle Carrington were suspended after they and former student Avery James were found to have violated the university's policy on sexual harassment, discrimination and assault.
Liberty said the three were connected to an alleged off-campus sexual assault in August 2015. The school wouldn't say what role each of them is alleged to have played in the reported assault.
Joshua Farmer, an attorney for Jackson, said in a statement that Jackson denies the allegations "in the strongest possible terms." A school spokesman said he didn't know whether Carrington or James have obtained attorneys.
Liberty University did not respond to Jackson's comments. Instead, they refer to their original statement.
---SEXUAL ASSAULT ON COLLEGE CAMPUSES---
Kelsey Harrington, Director Of Community Engagement of Sexual Assault Response and Awareness, told our sister station, WDBJ7, that sexual assault on college campuses is nothing new. So many cases are brought to the forefront, because they involve athletes or members of fraternities or other notable organizations.
However, people are now starting to become more vocal about what is happening, which is causing attention and bringing awareness.
"When there's very little consequences and you're more likely to be rewarded for these behaviors, we see this kind of being perpetuated more. I think that while we may see a lot of high profile cases with athletes. Because they are athletes, those cases may be brought to our attention more, I don't think that necessarily they may be perpetrating all that much more than just someone in the standard college population," Harrington said.
Here is the news release from Liberty University:
On July 13, 2016, Liberty University received a report of sexual assault alleged to have occurred off-campus in August 2015. Liberty University is committed to student safety and has a process in place for handling reports of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault involving members of the university community, regardless of whether those cases occur on- or off-campus. Liberty University has followed that process in this case, which included convening its Threat Assessment Team, notifying and cooperating with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the Lynchburg Police Department pursuant to Virginia law and university policy, and conducting a Title IX investigation and Conduct Review Committee hearing concerning the reported allegations.
As a result of the investigation and a hearing held on September 8, 2016, two current students, Cameron Jackson and Kyle Carrington, and one former student, Avery James, were found responsible for violating the Student Honor Code and Liberty University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Assault. As part of the process, each of these students has a right to appeal the Conduct Review Committee’s decision. Both Mr. Jackson and Mr. Carrington, as members of Liberty University’s football team, were not allowed to participate in the first two games of the season and are currently suspended from the team pending the outcome of any appeal. In light of the appeal process not being complete and an ongoing investigation by the Lynchburg Police Department, the university will not provide further details about the matter at this time.
Liberty University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Assault provides a process by which the university takes immediate steps to address allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault, as well as to remedy their effects and prevent recurrence. Liberty University does not tolerate any such behavior and strongly encourages reporting all forms of this behavior to the university’s Title IX Office and/or the Liberty University Police Department (LUPD) or local law enforcement authorities. Any Liberty University student found responsible for violating the university’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Assault is subject to discipline, up to and including involuntary administrative withdrawal from the university.
In addition to the disciplinary process, Liberty University seeks to provide prompt, compassionate and discreet support services to alleged victims of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault. Liberty University can take necessary interim measures to respond to such allegations to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Liberty University also offers resources for students and employees, whether as reporting parties, alleged victims, or accused parties, to provide support and guidance throughout the inquiry, investigation, and resolution processes.
A full copy of Liberty University’s Policy on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Assault, which includes additional information about the university’s Title IX Office, investigation and resolution processes can be accessed at the following link: