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Lawyer for accused rapist whose alleged victim committed suicide takes out full-page newspaper ad claiming dead student’s text messages prove there was no sexual assault

The lawyer for Megan Rondini’s family says the ad is a “classic case of victim-blaming”

The attorney for the man accused of raping a University of Alabama student before she committed suicide has taken out a full-page newspaper ad claiming that text messages exonerate his client of the sexual assault charges — without mentioning anything the text messages say.

As CrimeOnline previously reported, the family of Megan Rondini, who hung herself less than a year after her alleged rape, filed a wrongful death suit against the alleged rapist, three members of the Tuscaloosa County sheriff’s department, and two university employees.

The lawsuit claims that the university and law enforcement officials mishandled their daughter’s rape complaint and went too easy on the accused rapist, 34-year-old T.J. Bunn, because of his family’s wealth, political connections, and their financial support of the University of Alabama. Bunn, also known as “Sweet T,” was never charged.

Rondini left the university following the alleged sexual assault and moved back home to Texas, where her family said her mental health deteriorated and she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. She was found dead by hanging in February 2016.

AL.com reports that Bunn’s attorney, Ivey Gilmore, took out a full-page ad in the Tuscaloosa News on Thursday titled “”Character Assassination In The Internet Age.” As the Tuscaloosa News notes, it takes direct aim at a June 2017 Buzzfeed report that helped Rondini’s case gain national attention.

“These Internet-based ‘digital media journalists’ have no regard for the truth or for our community. They have taken generations of civic involvement, support of education, support of law enforcement, support of our hospital and civic generosity and condemned it as nothing more than a broad conspiracy.”

Gilmore goes on to claim that text messages Rondini sent to friends before she went to Bunn’s home indicate that she wanted and planned to have a sexual encounter with him.

“To be clear, this case is not a matter of ‘he said, she said,”’ the ad reads. “It is this young woman’s own words, and her own text messages that led every investigating authority to conclude she had not been sexually assaulted.”

The ad does not specify what Rondini allegedly said in those text messages, nor does it mention the text messages she sent to friends after the alleged rape, when she said she could not open the door to the bedroom to get out. She told police she eventually jumped out a second-story window.

An attorney at the firm that filed the lawsuit on behalf of Rondini’s family responded to the ad in a statement.

“This paid advertisement reeks of desperation and is a clear attempt to bully the Rondini Family,” said Ontario Tillman of the Maxwell Law Firm. “The text messages Sweet-T’s lawyer refer to show exactly how a situation can devolve into a nightmare in a matter of minutes. It’s no accident that this paid ad carefully avoids to mention the messages and phone calls that occurred immediately after that tragic night. This is classic case of victim blaming and a sad attempt to justify a sexual assault.”

 

Feature photo: Facebook