ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- A now-former University of Rochester student at the center of a federal investigation into an alleged sexual assault at the university is speaking out nationally about the case.
In May, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights began investigating how university administrators handled a complaint from Abigail, who tells the Huffington Post she was a freshman when it happened. She filed a complaint after she said she was physically abused by campus security and that the university mishandled her case.
Abigail tells the Post that in early Oct. 2014, she had been sexually assaulted by a male student while she was drunk. Several days later, she said she walked in on students in her dorm talking about the incident.
She tells HuffPo:
"I totally just freaked out, I had a total panic attack, a mental breakdown."
Campus Security was called. Abigail said she was screaming and crying as they tried to subdue her. She says the officer then grabbed her, handcuffed her, pushed her against the wall and sat on her while she was on the ground. Meanwhile, she said she was telling them she had recently been a victim of rape.
"It was literally worse than being assaulted in the first place."
Abigail said she was not drunk during the encounter with security. She said that the university claims otherwise.
In November, Abigail said she had a hearing about the alleged sexual assault. Abigail tells the Post the man accused admitted the two had sex. The university found, however, she was not drunk and not incapacitated.
The UR released this statement:
Out of respect for our students’ privacy, we do not comment on these cases. It is frustrating that we cannot say anything further, but we think that it is the responsible thing to do.
It goes on to say:
"We are confident that Public Safety, the Office of the Dean of Students, and the conduct system followed the proper policies and procedures, which are designed to protect our students."
Some students who we spoke to on campus say they have been following this case.
"I'm an RA, so I did training on sexual assault last summer and we do it every time we have training, which is in the fall and the winter. They take it pretty seriously so I'm surprised that they're actually being investigated for something," said Destiny Maitland, a junior.
"I am disappointed but I'm also, I also think it brings a new challenge to the university that they'll tackle with the utmost ambition and respect," said Elizana Joseph, a junior. "So I don't necessarily think that the U of R is going to shy away from this issue, if it means new training for public safety, if it means different programs at orientation and throughout the school year and academic year for students, if it means changing certain policies."
The U of R is one of 118 colleges and universities under similar federal investigations.