Parents file suit against late 20-year-old daughter’s alleged rapist, school and police investigators

Megan Rondini (Facebook)

The parents of a former University of Alabama student who hanged herself a year after her alleged rape spoke out on Wednesday after they filed a lawsuit against university employees, investigators, and their daughter’s alleged rapist.

According to the parents of Megan Rondini, 20, who hanged herself in February 2016, their daughter’s alleged attacker, T.J. Bunn, only escaped prosecution because he belonged to a prominent and wealthy family. In the wake of the alleged rape, Mondini had said she felt like investigators had treated her like a criminal. Her mother recalled receiving a call from her distraught daughter after she reported the crime to investigators.

“She’s like, ‘Mom, they think it’s my fault,’” Rondini’s mother, Cindy, told CBS News. Cindy added that she was so concerned that she drove straight from Texas to Alabama to be with her.

“It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life,” said Cindy.

In videotaped police interviews of Rondini and Bunn obtained by CBS News, Rondini can be seen telling an investigator that she feels like she’s going to “throw up” as they read her rights. Investigators, oddly, appeared to treat Bunn with more consideration than they did his alleged victim.

“I appreciate the way y’all have handled this,” Bunn is heard telling investigators on the video.

“If it was me on the other side, I’d want to do the same thing for me,” the investigator replied.

On Sunday, the Rondini family filed a federal lawsuit against Bunn, two university employees, the Tuscaloosa County sheriff, a sheriff’s deputy, and a sheriff’s office investigator, alleging that the school and law enforcement failed to do enough to protect their daughter. In the wake of the alleged rape, the suit claims, the sheriff’s office didn’t treat the case seriously and failed to adequately investigate the matter. The university, furthermore, failed to support Rondini or provide her with adequate psychological treatment. Any money won from the lawsuit, Rondini’s parents told CBS News, will be donated to groups that support rape victims.

A week before the lawsuit was filed, the University of Alabama announced that it would be partnering with DCH Regional Medical Center, victim advocates, the Tuscaloosa District Attorney’s office and law enforcement to form two sexual assault programs to help victims of rape and sexual assault. It’s not the first time that an institution has suddenly begun caring about sexual assault in the wake of a lawsuit. But for Megan Rondini and her parents, unfortunately, nothing can undo the damage that has already been done.

For more on the story and to see the videotaped police interviews obtained by CBS News, watch the video below.

Read the full story at Alabama.com and CBS News.


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