According to a report from AL.com’s Amy Yurkanin, a woman who sued the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2001 over sexual abuse she claimed to have suffered as a 15-year-old ripped Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Doug Jones for “hypocrisy” for his role as a defense attorney for the university.
Brittany Benefield, the plaintiff in what at the time was a high-profile suit, had been a student at UAB. She was recruited by the university as a child prodigy, which Bruce Feldman laid out in an article in the May 2002 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
The most important recruit in UAB history was a freckle-faced, carrot-topped 14-year-old named Brittany, who finished high school in under a year. UAB pursued the 5’1″, 120-pound bookworm like it would a quarterback who could rope the deep out. Brittany, who looks like a cross between Little Orphan Annie and Molly Ringwald, grew up an hour down Route 280 in tiny Childersburg (pop. 4900).
Feldman’s article detailed how things went wrong for Benefield as a young student at the UAB. The university moved her at age 15 into a co-ed dorm that housed football players, and according to the story, she was described to have become a “play thing” by some of those players.
According to Yurkanin’s piece for AL.com, her grades dropped. That led Benefield’s parents to withdraw her from UAB and file suit against the school.
“Benefield’s GPA slipped from 3.5 her first semester to 1.9 in her third, when her parents withdrew her from school and placed her in a rehabilitation facility,” Yurkanin wrote. “Benefield’s lawsuit said she was 15 when she began drinking and having sex with older UAB students – younger than the legal age of consent in Alabama.”
At the time, Jones was retained by the university and made a public statement that accused Benefield of “a cynical attempt to extort money.”
“The charges against UAB administrators and coaches are entirely without merit and represent nothing more than a cynical attempt to extort money by slandering this institution and its employees,” Jones said according to the AL.com report.
Sixteen years later, Benefield spoke out to AL.com.
“I find it to be the height of hypocrisy that he sets his campaign to be on the moral high ground against Roy Moore,” Benefield said.
The case was settled, and according to Yurkanin, Benefield said she is unable to discuss the details of court proceedings given the settlement. However, she criticized Jones for his behavior during the mediation process.
“He was not a victim’s advocate,” Benefield said to AL.com. “He was all for blaming the victim, honestly.”
She goes on to call Jones “uncaring” and “calculated.”
“I just think Doug Jones is full of … something,” she added. “He was cold, uncaring, unfeeling and calculated throughout the case.”
Read more at AL.com
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