Lawsuit Claims Rust College Ignored Sexual Assaults by Faculty

Lawsuit Claims Rust College Ignored Sexual Assaults by Faculty

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Rust College claims professors used the school as a hunting ground for women.
HOLLY SPRINGS, MS (localmemphis.com) - There are serious accusations against a Mid-South college.

A lawsuit filed Wednesday against Rust College claims professors used the school as a hunting ground for women.

Rust College is in Holly Springs, Mississippi. One professor, Dr. Sylvester Oliver, was fired last year after being accused of raping a student in his office.

It wasn't his first accusation of rape. Lawyers think there are more victims out there.

Three weeks ago they launched a website for this lawsuit, www.rustcollegeabuse.com. Lawyers say since then, several more women have come forward to say they too were raped.

"While someone like Mr. Oliver is getting his jollies off he's producing a trail of tragedies after that," says Sam Cherry with The Cochran Firm, which just filed the civil suit against Rust College and Oliver.

It accuses the school of negligently hiring Oliver. Their client is being called Jane Doe for privacy.

Oliver's accused of raping the female student in his office last September. He's still awaiting criminal trial.

"As early as a month before our client was raped another young lady at Rust was raped. We're doing everything we can to find all the victims," says attorney Ursula Holmes.

"She is not the only victim. Our investigation has likewise revealed he is not the only predator on campus," Cherry says.

Oliver was fired right after the accusation, the second time he was let go from Rust. Oliver was previously fired in the early 2000s. Lawyers believe that happened because he was having sex with students.

In 2006, he was hired by Memphis City Schools. He'd worked five months at Northside High School when a 16-year-old girl accused him of raping her.

He was fired from MCS, but never criminally charged. Rust then rehired him.

"It was not just a mistake Rust hired him after that. We feel like they actually knew about it. Part of our lawsuit is going to be a search for what in the world were you thinking?" Cherry says.

Rust students have heard about the accusations. They're defending their school.

"I wouldn't say the school is not worried about females because that's a lie," says Tiaira French. She's gone to Rust since 2008. "The teachers and the faculty make you feel safe and then the students look out for each other."

But other students say things have changed.

"They tightened up now. I mean last year it wasn't like what it was before," says Jimarion Kimmons. "The incident that happened last year, well I mean, I ain't trying to go against the school or anything, but there has been cases like that that's been going on."

Kimmons wonders why Oliver was rehired at their college.

"If you know people have already done stuff like that and are capable of doing something like that then why would you hire somebody else like that?" he asks.

Oliver refused to talk to us.

Rust College's vice president released a statement saying student safety is the school's primary concern.
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