The Moral Collapse of America’s Largest Christian University

The story of Elizabeth Axley, as told in this comprehensive ProPublica report alleging that Liberty University mishandled reports of sexual abuse, is difficult to read. At an off-campus party, she drank too much, her memory got hazy, she apparently passed out, and then when she woke up, she said a man was on top of her. She said he was covering her mouth, raping her.

When she got back to her dorm, she called the campus police, and they took her to the hospital, where “a nurse documented 15 bruises, welts and lacerations on her arm, face and torso.”

When Axley told her RA about the alleged attacks, she said the RA urged her not to report the incident. Axley had been violating the Liberty code of conduct—the “Liberty Way”—in part by drinking. But Axley reported it anyway. She had text messages supporting her claim. She had pictures (you can see them on the ProPublica report) taken at the hospital showing her injuries. 

Yes, the young man denied wrongdoing. But she had supporting evidence. Her case was more than simply he-said, she-said.

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