BALTIMORE COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The President of UMBC is apologizing, saying the school needs to do more in the wake of explosive allegations.
Two college students are claiming they reported rapes, only to have the cases covered up by University and county leaders in Baltimore County.
From the center of campus Monday, University of Maryland Baltimore County students shouted a message intended to reach the school’s top offices, on the heels of a federal lawsuit.
The UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski met with students for more than an hour, which was captured by the Baltimore Sun.
“Let me apologize, clearly we have not done a good enough job,” Hrabowski said.
The lawsuit, obtained by WJZ, alleges that University leaders and Baltimore County officials protected students who had been accused of sexual assault.
The 56-page suit said in one case in September 2015, an 18-year-old tried to report a violent dorm room rape. Instead, it said, UMBC police classified the case as “suspicious circumstance”, and because of that classification, the rape kit was destroyed one month after the alleged crime.
In another case in October 2017, a Towson student reported to Baltimore County police saying she had been repeatedly raped by three UMBC baseball players.
Court documents said they admitted to having sex with her while she was drunk, and told investigators, “They didn’t not understand what the issue was,”
The lawsuit said the case was closed 24 hours later.
“Seeing the allegations come out now that UMBC is protecting rapists, it hurts,” Kim Spadafora said.
Student Kim Spadafora is one of the leaders of a campus group that helps rape victims.
“Dealing with a lot of these things, we see the side that most people don’t. We see the side of the survivors. We see them coming to us, and our main job is just to believe them,”
She and other students are now asking University leaders to do the same.
A UMBC spokesperson issued a statement to WJZ Monday. It reads:
“The safety and experience of our students is our priority. University leaders are working actively with students to hear their voices and concerns, and to understand how we can best move forward together to create an environment that fully embodies our values,”
The two women and their attorney were not available for comment Monday.
The lawsuit alleges the cases were intentionally mishandled in an effort to drive down the number of rapes reported in Baltimore County.