ABC 22 Vermont Story following Morrissey v. Norwich University Press Conference
Former Norwich University Student Claims Sexual Assault; Files Lawsuit Against School
BURLINGTON, Vt. – A former Norwich University student claims she was sexually assaulted last year in her dorm room.
Typically Local 22 & Local 44 News does not identify alleged sexual assault victims, but Lauren Morrissey wants her story to be heard. She has filed a lawsuit against the university claiming her rape could have been prevented.
“I’m not really embarrassed, I am more upset… I just want to fight back and I don’t feel like I have to hide myself,” said Morrissey.
It was Morrissey’s freshman year at Norwich when she says her life was sent into a tail spin.
“I had to withdraw from the university, I really didn’t feel comfortable in a dorm room by myself away from home, I’ve had to attend lots of therapy and I admitted myself to an inpatient facility because I didn’t really feel comfortable with myself,” explained Morrissey.
Morrissey claims she was sexually assaulted in November 2016 by a male student inside her dorm room.
Morrissey said, “I knew of him, I had talked to him a few times we were mainly just acquaintances.”
In a lawsuit filed against Norwich University, Morrissey claims three other women reported sexual offenses by the same student. She says the university and its Title IX office failed in its response.
“They did not respond nor did they give any accommodations, I just stayed in my room anyways, did my work there and then I went to class a few days a week,” said Morrissey.
According to the lawsuit, Morrissey was examined at the Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin. The paperwork indicates a nurse reported the assault to Barre City Police.
Morrissey’s attorney Jeff Herman said he cannot comment on the investigation being conducted by police in Barre, but Chief Tim Bombardier said it has been handed off to a special investigations unit in Washington County.
Herman says he hears from a number of alleged victims from across the country, but Morrissey’s case caught his attention.
“It’s crystal clear, what she is alleging was a rape was sexual assault that was not consensual, it wasn’t a date or social event,” explained Herman.
Meanwhile, Morrissey says she wants to see justice and accountability, “I just think it’s kind of unfair that they would let it go under the rug and not really take into account what he had done.”
Local 22 & Local 44 News reached out to Norwich University Tuesday for comment, but were referred to its original statement released last week when the lawsuit was filed.
The statement read, “Norwich University takes seriously any report of misconduct within our community. Norwich investigates each and every allegation to the fullest extent possible and subsequently takes action where appropriate.”
No criminal charges have been filed at this point which is why Local 22 & Local 44 News has chosen not to reveal the name listed in the lawsuit as the alleged perpetrator.