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A student has accused her Tennessee Christian college of disciplining her after she came forward to report she had been choked and raped by a male classmate, according to a report.
Mara Louk filed a complaint Wednesday against Visible Music College with the U.S. Department of Education, alleging that the college had accused her of violating school rules forbidding premarital sex with another student, her ex-boyfriend. Louk denies the accusation she engaged in sexual intercourse with her former partner.
She said the college, located in Memphis, threatened to expel the now-former student if she refused to sign a confession and finish the school year online.
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According to court papers, school officials also would not remove her attacker from her classes because he had not been arrested, and they would not open a Title IX investigation, which protects students from gender-based discrimination, because the reported assault took place off-campus.
“I just felt like, why did I even speak up?” Louk told NBC News. “That’s truly how I felt for a long time because everything seemed to keep getting worse.”
In her complaint, Louk urges the DOE to determine if the school violated the Clery Act, a federal campus safety law requiring administrators to inform students of their rights and assistance options when they report sex crimes.
She also asked the department to evaluate whether the school discriminated against her under Title IX.
In November, a classmate who was not identified in the complaint came over to her apartment to play board games. The complaint states that this was the first time the two of them had been alone together and that he sexually assaulted her that night.
Louk told a school administrator about the alleged rape the following day. She and her attacker had shared classes together, and she wanted to ensure she would not be harassed on campus.
In a statement, Visible said it had not received official word from the DOE.
“We are aware of the recent story including a former student,” the college said in its statement. “As of Friday, April 29 at 4 p.m., we have not received an official complaint from the Department of Education and therefore cannot respond with any further information at this time. However, we would like to assure everyone that we are taking this situation very seriously and addressing the matter with the utmost care, as we have been since Fall 2021.”
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Visible president Ken Steorts told NBC the school had not seen a copy of Louk’s complaint but that it “will cooperate with any investigation of the allegations made in the complaint.”