Madi Barney is 19-years-old and a sophomore at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She reported to police that she was raped in her off-campus apartment during a date. But because she broke the Mormon school’s honor code, she’s the one who could ultimately be in trouble.
According to police documents, Barney claims that 39-year-old Nasiru Seidu, lied about his age, name, and marital status, and that he raped her while she cried out and screamed ‘no’. Police confirmed those details during a staged phone call between Barney and Seidu after she filed the report. But a Utah County sheriff’s deputy, who was friends with Seidu, then sent Barney’s police case file to BYU.
Two months after her attack she received a letter from a BYU official: “We have received information that you have been a victim of behavior that is addressed in the university Sexual Misconduct Policy. We have also received information that you have engaged in behavior that violates the BYU Honor Code. I would like to meet with you and provide you with the information that we have received and give you an opportunity to respond.”
According to the Mormon university’s “honor code”, rape victims can be punished for having consumed alcohol or had a member of the opposite sex in a bedroom.
Barney went public with her case last week, and a petition she drafted demanding BYU grant victims of sexual assault immunity from honor code punishments has since garnered over 90,000 signatures.
She has filed an official complaint to US Department of Education, saying BYU denied her services that under federal law should be available to sexual assault victims in accordance with Title IX, the gender equity rule that requires schools to address reports of sexual assault and harassment. The university claimed to be meeting Title IX compliance standards when it began investigating Barney’s case.
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