Before laying out the issues in the tragic suicide of Megan Rondini, be aware that the comments at the Daily Mail are very much sympathetic toward her.
Now, for the issues:
1. We have a college girl who drinks alcohol and passes out. I once was part of a group of white males who loaded a passed out girl into her girlfriend’s car after a group of Mexican males tried to spirit her away, presumably to have sex with her unconscious body. I guess we’re lucky we didn’t get shot. It’s not clear from the details in this story how the girl ended up at the home of her alleged rapist.
2. A very important part of the story here revolves around the fact that the alleged rapist was 34 and comes from a very wealthy, politically connected family. You have to ask yourself if, like Hillary Clinton, he’s too big to jail. Since the girl was allegedly passed out, could he have put a date rape drug in her drinks? Some facts not reported in the Daily Mail story can be read at the Tuscaloosa News
3. Alabama rape law requires that a rape victim MUST physically resist (kicking, punching, etc.) or else there is no rape. Is this a fair law?
4. The dead girl supposedly stole her alleged rapist’s gun. She said she did so in order to protect herself from him. Police and the DA were ready to charge her with theft. Does this seem fair?
5. Can you reason out a broad message for both males and females from this tragedy? I assume that men prefer not to be accused of rape. Likewise, I assume that women prefer not to be victims of sexual assault.
Not only does there seem to be a male-female divide in this story, but also a strong class divide, along with a possibly corrupt legal system.
A college student may have been driven to suicide after she was turned on by police when she accused a powerful man of rape.
University of Alabama honors student Megan Rondini, 20, reported in July 2015 that she was sexually assaulted after a night of drinking.
The man whom she only knew as ‘Sweet T’ turned out to be business man TJ Bunn, 34, the son of an influential Tuscaloosa family.
In an explosive account published by Buzzfeed News, Megan’s family reveals how she never imagined she’d been viewed as a criminal and that investigators would find Bunn to be the true victim.
Megan told investigators that on July 1 she went to Innisfree Irish Pub for trivia night with a group of sorority sisters. She saw Bunn there and had seen him before but they only had spoken once.
She blacked out and came to in Bunn’s Mercedes.
Megan said she was so intimidated by Bunn that she didn’t try to stop him as he drove toward his house.
She then said Bunn told her to go to his room and she complied, sitting on a couch near the door, as far as possible from his bed and – when he came in – he told her he wanted to have sex.
That’s when Megan said she had to leave, while ‘trying to be really nice to him’ because ‘I know he’s an influential person in Tuscaloosa’.
‘I said, I really need to go, I have friends that are waiting,’ she told police when they first interviewed her at the hospital. ‘He didn’t really take that.’
Eventually, Megan said, she ‘felt like just letting him have sex with me was the only way he would let me go’.
According to investigators, Megan was able to escape his mansion by climbing out of the second story window.
When she realized she couldn’t find her keys, she checked Bunn’s Mercedes, where she found his wallet and a pistol, which she took for protection despite not knowing how to fire it.
Under Alabama’s rape law, victims must prove they ‘earnestly’ resisted their attackers, and the investigator who interviewed Megan, Adam Jones, decided that she hadn’t done so against Bunn.
According to him, she hadn’t ‘kicked him or hit him,’ so the investigator would conclude that no rape occurred.
When she told him about going into Bunn’s car, video shows Jones entering and exiting the room, asking Megan questions that were about her behavior the previous night instead of her rape allegations.
When Bunn was interviewed, he called Megan ‘a very willing participant.’
When his interviewer left the room for a moment, Bunn told his lawyer in a whisper that he’d drop the charges against Megan if she dropped hers.
‘I won’t pursue her if she doesn’t pursue me, but I will play hardball if she does,’ he’s seen saying on video.
Later, when Megan tried to file a civil suit, she learned the only way to escape possible prosecution for those crimes was to drop her case.
The district attorney’s office eventually decided to present it to a grand jury – but the grand jury would also rule on felony charges against Megan for breaking into Bunn’s car and stealing his gun.
When Megan went to the University of Alabama for counseling, a staff therapist told her that she had to recuse herself from the case because she knew the Bunn family.
Ultimately, Megan and her family decided it was no longer safe for her to stay in Tuscaloosa and she withdrew from the university before the end of fall semester.
‘She did everything that she could to protect herself and to get help,’ Megan’s father, Mike Rondini, told Buzzfeed News. ‘She should have gotten that help, and she didn’t. That is a failure on everybody’s part.’
Megan left Tuscaloosa newly-diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and her depression seemed to only worsen.
On February 2016, Megan sent a text to a friend that read: ‘When all is said and done, I wonder what I could’ve accomplished if one man didn’t completely rip everything away from me.’
Megan ended up transferring to Southern Methodist University in Texas, a school she hated because she missed her old friends, her sorority, her old life.
She filled out an intake form for SMU’s mental health center, in which she wrote that she thought she would be ‘better off dead’ more than half the time.
One question asked if there had been major losses, changes, or crises in her life. Megan wrote: ‘Raped, bullied by police, changed university.’
She never turned it in and hanged herself on February 26.
Megan never wrote a suicide note, but the intake forms were found next to her bed.
In retrospect it was a mistake for Megan to come to Texas. She should have stayed closer to home, but away from the Tuscaloosa area. There were plenty of choices of colleges for her to attend closer to home.
Somehow this whole business of date rape has come to be a plague upon us all. But as the story in the Tuscaloosa News relates, it’s providing lawyers with a lot of employment opportunities.