Crime and Courts

Liberty University Professor Charged in Alleged Abduction, Sexual Battery of Student

William Atwell, who teaches American Sign Language, was arrested on charges of abduction by force and sexual battery, according to court records

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A professor at Liberty University is accused in the abduction and sexual battery of a student, according to the evangelical school and Lynchburg, Virginia, court records.

William Atwell was arrested late last month on charges of sexual battery and abduction by force, court records show. He has since made bail and is due back in court on Jan. 25.

Court records say the alleged sexual battery happened in September, while the alleged abduction by force happened on Nov. 19, the day before campus police arrested him.

Atwell did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. A statement from a university spokesperson said Atwell had been suspended.

A ProPublica piece published in late October said that more than 50 former Liberty students and staff told of a culture at the school in which leadership discourages women coming forward with reports of sexual assault.

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