TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Two years after a University of Alabama student died by suicide, her family reached a settlement with the school after filing a lawsuit, their attorney confirms.
In February 2016, Megan Rondini died by suicide after alleging sexual assault against a prominent Tuscaloosa businessman, T.J. Bunn, Jr. A June 2017 Buzzfeed report brought national attention to the events surrounding Megan's death and alleged assault.
According to a joint statement by the Rondini family and the University of Alabama, both parties "share the desire to eliminate sexual misconduct and, in the event it does occur, provide support to the victims and hold perpetrators accountable."
As stipulated in the settlement, the University of Alabama will appropriate a total of $400,000 to facilities, services, and personnel dedicated to combating sexual misconduct and uplifting survivors. $250,000 will be committed to the Tuscaloosa SAFE Center. An additional $150,000 will be committed at the end of 2019 to "continue [The University's] efforts to add personnel to its team of employees dedicated to addressing issues associated with sexual misconduct."
The University will also dedicate a total $50,000 STEM scholarship in Megan's name, to be awarded over the next five years.
In May 2018, Megan will be posthumuosly awarded a Magna Cum Laude B.S. degree from the University's Honors College.
This settlement excludes the family's grievances with parties not affiliated with the University of Alabama.
In response to the UA's settlement with the Rondini family T.J. Bunn's attorney released the following statement, claiming text messages as evidence of Bunn's innocence:
“The University of Alabama must make decisions based on what it perceives to be its best interests. Our client now is anxious to lay before the court and the public the evidence from Ms. Rondini’s own cell phone and her own written and recorded statements that led law enforcement and a grand jury to conclude that no sexual assault took place. Ms. Rondini’s own words provide this proof.”
This story has been edited to reflect the Rondini family attorney's retraction of his initial statement, including omissions of quotes provided by the Rondini family.