By Haley Bartlett & Alyssa Martin
Copy Editor & Features Editor
Survivors Emily Moreland and Cecilia Treanor have recently began a lawsuit with the University for their identical sexual assault case being overlooked alongside a history of coverups.
Moreland and Treanor were both allegedly sexually assaulted by the same man two years apart, one in December of 2015, the other in January of 2018. In both cases, not only did UTC’s faculty disregard the issue, but so did the Chattanooga Police Department.
Moreland said that due to her assault happening off campus it did not get reported to campus police, but she did go to CPD.
“CPD never brought someone in to interview the perpetrator” she said, “they also closed my case without notifying me, I didn’t know until five months ago.”
When handling Treanor’s case as well, CPD failed to take action. Treanor hired investigator Tyrone Williams, who advised her to do a hair testing for proof of drugging. Williams ignored her calls over the process for the proceeding almost three months. The time frame for the evidence then expired.
The University conducted their own hearings with Chancellor Angle and other staff members. However, the results were not satisfying for either survivor. Moreland said Angle had her sit right across the table from her alleged attacker, leaving her uncomfortable.
During Moreland’s investigation, her case went to trial three separate times before a hearing with the Chancellor took place. The alleged perpetrator was found guilty of sexual assault each time but kept appealing it.
Angle concluded the alleged attacker should have a one year suspension from UTC, but then reduced the sentence to one semester. Treanor said his reasoning for this was that he felt Burney had not acted maliciously or with violence during the altercation.
In 2018, Treanor found out she was not the only victim of her attacker and got into contact with Moreland. Moreland said her reaction was heartbreaking.
“My heart just broke knowing he had done it again because I know there was also a girl before me,” she said.
After his suspension, the alleged attacker was in the ARC a total of 37 times documented. The General Council never filed he was on campus to the police, nor did the assistant director of the ARC have knowledge. But on March 12, 2018, Dustin Burney was arrested and charged with criminal trespassing for violating the terms of his suspension.
Treanor saw her alleged attacker on campus every week during the semester she was assaulted, making him seem like a student.
Due to FERPA, the privacy act that protects information of government facilities including universities, there is no record of sexual assault on the alleged attacker’s transcript. Treanor said someone who cheats on a test has it permanently on their record but not if they rape someone.
“They do this in fear of FERPA violations, but there is none,” she said, “this happens everywhere; rapists get passed around from school to school.”
Both survivors wanted to elicit change and went to the board with ideas such as getting in touch with previous schools about past allegations or a non tolerance policy of suspension, but UTC denied each one. Treanor said she has had seven UTC students come to her with similar stories of being ignored.
Treanor said everything she went through could have been prevented if they had forced his suspension.
“He raped me, but UTC facilitated it,” she said.