Many Campus Assault Victims Stay Quiet, or Fail to Get Help

Freshman Megan Wright was allegedly gang raped, and later committed suicide.

ByABC News
August 16, 2010, 12:09 PM

Sept. 6, 2010— -- As college students gear up once again to taste the sweet freedom of the college campus, there's one thing they're not likely not focusing on: the probability that one out of four female college students will be raped before receiving a diploma.

A recent study from the Department of Justice estimated that 25 percent of college women will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year college period, and that women between the ages of 16 to 24 will experience rape at a rate that's four times higher than the assault rate of all women.

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Such was seemingly the case of Megan Wright, a 19-year-old from New Jersey. Wright was wrapping up her freshman year in May 2006 at Dominican College, a small Catholic school in Orangeburg, N.Y., about an hour away from New York City, when she was allegedly gang raped on its campus. She committed suicide before the year ended.

Her mother, Cindy McGrath, is suing Dominican, claiming that the college failed to conduct a proper investigation into her daughter's assault, and thereby violated Title IX of the Civil Rights Act, which guarantees equal access to education.

The lawsuit also alleges that Dominican violated the law by not accurately disclosing the number of sexual assaults reported on its campus.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who has represented parties in several high-profile discrimination cases, is representing McGrath.

"A victim who reports a sexual assault to a college, which is receiving federal funds, has a right to expect, under the law, that that college will conduct a fair, thorough investigation," Allred said. "We take very seriously a college's duty, and we want it enforced, and when they violate it there are real consequences."

The Center for Public Integrity conducted a 12-month probe into sexual assault on college campuses that was completed earlier this year.