Megan Rondini hanged herself in October, 2016 after getting no justice against an influential individual who stripped her of all basic human dignity
The family of a University of Alabama student who committed suicide last year after her efforts seeking redress against a man she claims raped her failed, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her alleged attacker, school staffers and law enforcement over the weekend.
The parents of Megan Rondini, a 20-year-old former UA student who took her own life after accusing a wealthy member of the community of rape are blaming the suicide on the assault as well as law enforcement and the school’s mishandling of the investigation.
Cindy and Michael Rondini, in a wrongful-death lawsuit, filed against university officials and law enforcement, claim detectives were not sympathetic while investigating claims that Terry Bunn Jr. raped their daughter, Megan, in July 2015.
They also believe her alleged attacker escaped prosecution because of his prominent and wealthy family.
“She’s like, ‘Mom, they think it’s my fault,’” Cindy Rondini told CBS News while fighting through tears. “Like, ‘It’s not your fault, baby.’”
She spoke with officers a few hours after the alleged incident and was read her Miranda Rights. She “was treated as a crime suspect,” the lawsuit said.
The suit says the college student met a man at a Tuscaloosa bar and was allegedly drugged before being raped in his home in July 2015.
The lawsuit identifies Terry Bunn Jr. as the man she accused of rape, and BuzzFeed and other outlets have reported that he is a member of a wealthy and influential Tuscaloosa family.
He has not been charged with a crime. The district attorney concluded Rondini’s case didn’t meet the legal definition of sexual assault – By Alabama law, victims are required to prove they “earnestly” fought their attacker – and was subsequently closed.
Rondini [photo], said her attacker drove her to his house where he expressed a desire to have sex with her. She “repeatedly asked [Bunn] to take her home or back to her friend’s residence and he refused,” according to the lawsuit.
Instead, he “demanded her to get on his bed … [and] forcefully removed her clothing.”￼
Speaking to police later on the night of the alleged attack, Rondini said she’d “repeatedly” told the man she did not want to have sex with him.
He “sexually attacked, abused and assaulted Megan for over 30 minutes against her will and without her consent,” the suit said.
When the man eventually fell asleep, Rondini tried to leave the room but discovered she was locked inside.
Terry ‘TJ’ Bunn Jr was questioned after Megan Rondini reported the rape, but has never been charged with an offense. The Prosecutor’s office said the victim’s claim did not meet the burden of proof under Alabama lae to move for an indictment
In a panic, she crawled through a second-story window and jumped to the ground. As she was leaving the property, Rondini realized she’d lost her keys. She told police that she searched the man’s car for them, and found a wallet and a pistol inside. Thinking she might have to take a taxi home, she took $3 out of the wallet, she told authorities, and picked up the gun “for safety.”
Being unfamiliar with guns, however, Rondini said she accidentally fired it before dropping it on the ground. She did not pick it up again.
“I was never going to hurt anybody with it,” Rondini told investigators, according to BuzzFeed. “I got it just to protect myself but I don’t eat meat, I could never kill anything, even if it came to that point I wouldn’t have been able to use it on a person.”
Investigators were fixated on this detail, according to the suit. “inexplicably, the police shifted the focus to potentially prosecuting Megan for an accidental firearm discharge rather than investigating her assault. Megan ultimately was treated as a crime suspect and her status as a victim of a sex crime was completely disregarded,” it said.
Cindy and Michael Rondini say their daughter was railroaded by a system that is protecting her ‘connected’ tapist Terry Bunn Jr
Hours after she escaped her alleged attacker’s house, the 20-year-old University of Alabama student reported the incident to police, who her parents said seemed to treat her more like a suspect.
Terry ‘TJ’ Bunn Jr., Rondini’s alleged attacker, hasn’t been charged. The son of Terry Bunn and nephew of Sonny Bunn, owners of S.T. Bunn Construction, he was 34-years-old at the time and wasn’t a student at the university.
However, case investigators were most interested in figuring out whether the 20-year-old Rondini had committed a crime, according to the lawsuit.
While being questioned by officers, Rondini explained how she repeatedly told the man she wanted to leave and then how she mistakenly fired his gun and stole $3 for cab fare before making a run for it.
“I’m really sorry, like I didn’t, I just —” Rondini can be heard saying before breaking down for a moment.
Cindy drove from their hometown in Texas to Alabama in the days after the alleged attack to be with her daughter.
Megan Rondini killed herself in February 2016, less than a year after she reported the alleged rape, by the scion of an influential Alabama family
“It was the most heartbreaking moment of my life,” the mother told the news station through tears.
In a recording of Bunn’s interrogation, he can be heard thanking officers for their courtesy: “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. When he was appointed to a state conservation board, the local paper wrote a glowing profile.
“His family is very well connected,” Michael Rondini said.
When Megan Rondini sought counseling from the university, her first therapist had to withdraw because she personally knew Bunn.
Rondini met with Women and Gender Resource Center counselor Kathy Echols and told her about the alleged assault.
Deputies question Terry ‘TJ’ Bunn after the rape incident, July 6, 2015
Echols told Rondini at the end of the conversations that the two could no longer meet because she knew Bunn and his family personally and it would be a conflict of interest. Rondini felt “betrayed and disheartened” that she had revealed the details of her alleged assault to a close friend of Bunn’s, according to the suit.
The grand jury, in the end, opted against indicting Bunn and Megan committed suicide in February 2016.
A federal lawsuit filed by the Rondinis on Monday accuses Bunn, members of the sheriff’s department and two university officials of causing “Megan extreme depression, anxiety, PTSD” and “feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness… which directly led to Megan’s loss of life.”
“We would get phone calls where she would be afraid. She’s like, ‘mom there’s a car outside and it keeps circling.’ She didn’t feel safe,” Cindy said.
Rondini committed suicide in February 2016, shortly after transferring to a college in Texas.
Bunns impressive family home. He allegedly raped Megan Rondini, a former University of Alabama student who was allegedly raped and later took her own life, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
“Megan was ultimately treated as a crime suspect and her status as a victim of a sex crime was completely disregarded,” the suit reads.
University of Alabama has declined to comment on the specifics of the suit in a statement, but said everyone was “deeply saddened” by Megan’s death. The UA release also states that they are working to raise community awareness and support for victims of sexual assault.
Bunn’s lawyer denied the sexual assault took place all together.
“The allegations against my client as set forth in this baseless lawsuit are simply false,” his statement reads.
The suit does not list any specific monetary damages but does request a court order requiring the local sheriff’s office to provide officers better training and “to provide safe conditions to citizens around criminal investigation.”