Disputed Alabama Rape Allegation Leads to Suicide

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BuzzFeed explores the troubling case of Megan Rondini, an honors student at the University of Alabama who killed herself after reporting to police that she had been raped by an older man from a prominent Tuscaloosa family. The alleged crime occurred in July 2015, when T.J. Bunn Jr., 34, offered 20-year-old Rondini a ride home when he saw her leaving downtown Tuscaloosa alone. Rondini couldn’t remember how she ended up in his white Mercedes and then in his home. But she later told police that she was sober enough to know she didn’t want to have sex with him — and, she said, Bunn should’ve known it, too.

She went a hospital for a forensic exam and met with police after climbing out a window of Bunn’s home. BuzzFeed said Rondini never imagined that she would be cast as a criminal, or that investigators would view Bunn as the true victim. But that’s what happened. Bunn insisted he and Megan had consensual sex. Under Alabama’s archaic rape law, victims must prove they “earnestly” resisted their attackers, and the investigator who interviewed Rondini quickly decided she hadn’t fought back against Bunn — she hadn’t “kicked him or hit him,” he explained. His investigation would conclude that no rape occurred. After months of growing anxiety over the case, Rondini committed suicide in February 2016.

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