I-TEAM: Sexual assault victim files discrimination suit against AU

Published: Jun. 22, 2020 at 6:10 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It was a crime that terrified the community. Two years later, the crime remains unsolved and the victim is acting against Augusta University.

According to Richmond County investigators, a man bound, gagged, and brutally raped Augusta University Dr. Lesley Williams. Williams has now filed a lawsuit against AU among the allegations.

Williams is suing the school for sex discrimination and retaliation. Williams says she feels like she was violated twice. First, by the man she says raped her. Second, the school retaliated against her.

Williams nearly lost her life on March 15, 2018.

“I was raped, beaten, and tied up in my own home,” Williams said.

She says the nightmare didn’t end there after the assault.

“I feel like I was labeled a victim of sexual assault with the stereotype that goes along with women who have been assaulted and raped that they can’t overcome this, and they didn’t think I was capable of doing anesthesiology anymore,” Williams said.

Court documents state her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress syndrome was regarded as a disability by the school, thus legally entitled to certain accommodations.

“I requested a modified schedule, not to be put in the general,” Williams said. “For my own health and patient safety and everything.”

Williams’ lawsuit against the school alleges the defendants violated policy by not offering alternative accommodations that would allow her to perform her essential job functions and proceed with completion of her residency training.

“They ordered a fit for duty test. I complained about it, other male residents required to do this testing. And as I complained, things got worse,” Williams said. “The reason they put down was because I was raped, not because I wasn’t doing my job.”

The lawsuit states she passed the fit for duty test, and a drug test her superiors also required her to take.

“I was let go originally for claims of cheating on my IE exam and basic exam,” Williams said. “When I appealed the decision, they presented other reasons for me to be let go which were not the reasons for getting fired.”

Williams ended up losing her residency along with her dream of becoming an anesthesiologist.

“Being scared of the dark, being scared of the alone, but that didn’t change my life. What changed my life was what AU did to me,” she said.

We reached out to Augusta University for comment and have not heard back yet.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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