Parents of alleged rape victim sue Univ. of Alabama over suicide

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (CBS/AP) -- The parents of a Texas woman who said she was raped while attending the University of Alabama have sued the alleged attacker, school officials and others, claiming the episode led to her suicide last year.

A federal wrongful death lawsuit filed over the weekend by Michael and Cynthia Rondini of Austin, Texas, claims the alleged assault and officials' subsequent mishandling of the allegations prompted Megan Rondini to kill herself.

Megan hung herself on February 26, 2016. Two days before, she sent a text 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."

The lawsuit says Rondini, then a 20-year-old junior who planned to go to medical school, met 34-year-old Terry Bunn Jr. at a popular Tuscaloosa bar in July 2015. She was later sexually assaulted at his home, possibly after being drugged, the suit contends.

Megan told investigators she doesn't remember how she got to the apartment but begged Bunn to take her home after arriving. Instead, she said, he took her into a bedroom and raped her for 30 minutes. 

Megan said Bunn had locked her inside the bedroom so when he passed out, she had to climb out of the window and jump two stories to the ground. She took $3 for possible cab fare and a gun she found for safety. She dropped the gun and left it behind after accidentally firing it, the lawsuit says. 

Police investigating the sexual assault were sympathetic toward Bunn, who comes from a prominent family, and wrongly focused on Rondini's actions, according to the suit.

Rondini spoke to a sheriff's investigator hours after leaving her alleged rapist's house.

"I had already said like I needed to leave, and he just wasn't really responding to that," Rondini said in the interrogation.

"Megan ultimately was treated as a crime suspect and her status as a victim of a sex crime was completely disregarded," the suit said. T

"She's like, 'Mom, they think it's my fault,'" mother Cindy Rondini tearfully told CBS News. "Like, 'It's not your fault baby, it's not.'"

Cindy drove from Texas to Alabama to comfort her daughter.

"It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life," Cindy recounted in tears.

The lawsuit also claims Megan had a rape kit done at a local hospital but it was never submitted to a forensic lab. 

Investigators also questioned Bunn.  

"I appreciate y'all's professionalism. And I appreciate the way y'all have handled this," Bunn told the investigators.

"If it was me on the other side, I'd want to do the same thing for me," the investigator responded.

A grand jury later declined to indict Bunn, whose family owns a large construction company in town. 

"His family is very well connected," Michael Rondini said.

The suit contends Rondini afterward suffered depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, which her parents say led to her suicide.

The young woman withdrew from Alabama and returned home to Texas, where her mental condition deteriorated, according to the complaint.

In a statement, the university declined comment on specifics of the lawsuit but said school officials were "deeply saddened" by Rondini's death and are trying to raise community awareness and support victims of sexual assault.

Bunn couldn't be reached for comment but his lawyer  denied that he had sexually assaulted Rondini.

"The allegations against my client as set forth in this baseless lawsuit are simply false," the statement said.

MORE: Read the full story at CBSNEWS.com

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