As reported by al.com
A woman who sued her university in 2001 over sexual abuse she allegedly suffered as a 15-year-old said Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Doug Jones questioned the timing and motivation of her accusations while defending employees of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in a $40 million lawsuit.
Brittany Benefield said she has been thinking about the case a lot in recent days as allegations surfaced that Jones’ opponent, Roy Moore, engaged in inappropriate relationships with teen girls during his early 30s. Jones has said he finds Moore’s accusers credible.
“I find it to be the height of hypocrisy that he sets his campaign to be on the moral high ground against Roy Moore,” said Benefield.
In public statements about the case, in his role defending university officials, Jones cast doubt on her claim that the university officials were responsible.
“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 at the time.
John Whitaker, an attorney who represented Benefield at the time, said Jones acted professionally in his defense of UAB and did not mistreat the victim. Attorneys are required to vigorously defend their clients, and can be disciplined for failing to do so.
“Never, ever, do I think that Doug Jones did anything inappropriate,” Whitaker said.
Benefield said she can’t discuss the details of confidential court proceedings, but has very bad memories of the mediation process.
“He was not a victim’s advocate,” Benefield said. “He was all for blaming the victim, honestly.”
Trial in the media
It was an ugly episode for the school and its fledgling football program, which was implicated in the scandal. Benefield, originally identified in court documents as Jane Doe, had been hailed as the youngest student ever admitted to an Alabama university. She began attending the university soon after she turned 15.
UAB in 2001 hired Jones to defend a football coach and the university police chief against allegations they didn’t protect Benefield from older athletes who sexually exploited her and exposed her to drugs and alcohol. One campus officer was also alleged to have had sex with the student.
“[Jones] has always fought for justice for victims and to make sure that everyone gets a fair shake in court,” said campaign spokesman Sebastian Kitchen in a statement. “After litigation in this matter was filed, Doug represented the former football coach and former chief of police, who were ultimately dismissed from the case. Doug was not the lead lawyer in the case for the University.”
You can read more here.