Savannah State University

Jury awards $10 million to woman raped at Savannah State University

Oct. 27, 2017
Victim contended that the university failed to provide adequate security at the student apartment complex where the 2013 attack occurred.

A student at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga., who was raped in campus housing in 2013 has been awarded $10 million in damages by a Chatham County jury.

The Savannah Morning News reports that a civil jury found the Savannah State University Foundation Real Estate Ventures LLC—a nonprofit that owns the University Commons student housing complex—was negligent because it failed to provide adequate security.

The victim was “attacked, raped, sexually assaulted and robbed at gunpoint” on Dec. 5, 2013, in her apartment, the lawsuit said.

The attack was part of a crime spree in 2013 and 2014 by serial rapist Torrey Scott that involved rapes of four women, one of whom he murdered. A second, similar suit for a second student victim is pending as well as a suit on behalf of a woman who was raped and killed in Port Wentworth, Ga.

Scott, 40, was convicted last year of rape and murder in those attacks and has been sentenced to four consecutive life prison sentences.

In the civil lawsuit, the jury assessed comparative fault of 40 percent for Scott; 40 percent for the Savannah State University Foundation Real Estate Ventures; and 20 percent for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

The suit contended that Savannah State and related defendants ignored a pattern of criminal conduct at the university and failed to provide a safe environment.

The assailant, subsequently identified as Scott, was captured on video surveillance climbing a fence and gaining entry to the campus, then remained in the parking lot “in excess of 15 minutes” before entering the victims’ apartment.

During the trial, former Savannah State University police chief Thomas Traywick, who left the post in 2009, testified that when he was chief, he had one security officer patrolling the complex between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. and video cameras were monitored. Testimony in Scott’s trial showed the cameras were not being monitored on the night of the assaults.

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