A Massachusetts school is alleging that a student who was raped while studying abroad in Puerto Rico is partially responsible because she was drinking that night and chose to follow a stranger onto a dark rooftop, according to recently filed court documents.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute made the arguments in response to a civil suit filed last year in which the victim alleges that the college failed to provide a safe environment for students, The Boston Globe reports.
The woman was assaulted by a security guard in April 2012 at a university-leased apartment building in Puerto Rico, where she was completing a research project.
The school's attorneys argue the victim engaged in risky behavior including excessive drinking and disregarded training about how to protect herself from harm.
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A school spokeswoman told the Globe in a statement issued Monday that WPI takes students' well-being seriously and provided support to the victim and other students after the assault.
In a statement provided to necn on Tuesday, school president Laurie Leshin said the language in the court documents was used by the school's then-insurance provider, and that "WPI has never and would never blame a victim for being raped."
The woman's lawyers say the school's argument is an attempt to harass and intimidate her.