A professor at the conservative Christian Liberty University in Virginia has been accused of abduction and sexual battery of a student. William Atwell, an associate professor of American Sign Language, was arrested on Nov. 20 in connection with an accusation of sexual battery on Sept. 15 and abduction on Nov. 19. A spokesperson for the school said in a statement that Atwell has been suspended and the school is taking the matter seriously. Inappropriate sexual contact with a student is “something for which there is zero tolerance,” the spokesperson said, per NBC News.
The student reported the incidents to the school, which turned it over to the police. Liberty has been under fire in the past for how it handles accusations of sexual assault at the school. Twelve women are suing the school, CNN reports. The women, former students and staff plus one minor who was not a student, filed a complaint in federal court saying the school created a hostile environment and punished people who reported misconduct. Scott Lamb, senior vice president of communications and public engagement until Liberty fired him in October, has filed a lawsuit with similar charges, too, the News & Advance reports. Scott says he was fired in retaliation for coming forward, and the school has pushed back hard against the allegations. (Read more Liberty University stories.)