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Former student says Fordham failed to protect him from violent roommate’s sex assaults



A former Navy ROTC student at Fordham University alleged in a lawsuit that the Bronx school failed to protect him from a violent roommate who sexually assaulted him twice in their dorm.

“Everyone talks about how great college can be but my sophomore year was the worst year of my life,” said Frank Austin.

Austin, now 32 years old, filed a lawsuit against Fordham for negligence. He told NBC New York his former roommate first raped him in Feb. 2011. He did not report the alleged incident to police, but did tell staff at the school — where it went nowhere.

“I reported the rape to two Fordham staff members. Absolutely nothing happened,” he said.

Austin alleged in the lawsuit he was attacked again a year later. He believes that university officials could’ve prevented it from happening the first time.

“His behavior grew increasingly aggressive and erratic, violent. And I tried several times to switch roommates, recording his escalating aggression and repeated threats of rape and murder to Fordham,” said Austin, who is suing under New York’s Adult Survivor’s Act.


That law gives survivors of sexual assault a one-year window to file civil lawsuits regardless of when the crime occurred.

“Frank and other survivors of sexual abuse deserves a chance at justice. To have their case heard in a court of law,” said State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal.

Austin is now seeking an unspecified amount of compensation, saying that counseling — along with the support of his husband and family — prevented him from suicide.

“This must change, and I want to make sure no other Fordham student has to go through what I’ve had to endure last 12 years of my life,” said Austin.

An initial lawsuit was filed in 2021, but a judge dismissed the claims as time-barred. That has now changed with the Adult Survivor’s Act.

Fordham says it does not comment on pending litigation.


Source: NBC New York

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