A woman who sued the University of Alabama-Birmingham in 2001 over sexual abuse she says she suffered as a 15-year-old calls out Roy Moore’s democratic opponent – U.S. Senate hopeful Doug Jones – for “hypocrisy” for his role as a defense attorney for the university.
Brittany Benefield, the plaintiff in what at the time was a high-profile suit, at the time had been a student at UAB. She was recruited by the university as a child prodigy, which Bruce Feldman wrote in an article in the May 2002 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
“The most important recruit in UAB history was a freckle-faced, carrot-topped 14-year-old named Brittany, who finished high school in under a year. UAB pursued the 5’1″, 120-pound bookworm like it would a quarterback who could rope the deep out. Brittany, who looks like a cross between Little Orphan Annie and Molly Ringwald, grew up an hour down Route 280 in tiny Childersburg (pop. 4900).”
Feldman’s article detailed how things went wrong for Benefield as a young student at UAB when the university moved her at age 15 into a co-ed dorm that housed football players. According to the story, she was described to have become a “play thing” by some of those players.
According to AL.com’s Amy Yurkanin, in her piece she details how her grades dropped, which led Benefield’s parents to withdraw her from UAB and file suit against the school writing:
“Benefield’s GPA slipped from 3.5 her first semester to 1.9 in her third, when her parents withdrew her from school and placed her in a rehabilitation facility,” Yurkanin wrote. “Benefield’s lawsuit said she was 15 when she began drinking and having sex with older UAB students – younger than the legal age of consent in Alabama.”
At the time, Jones was retained by the university and made a public statement, accusing Benefield of “a cynical attempt to extort money.” According to the AL.com report, Jones said:
“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.”
Sixteen years later, Benefield spoke out to AL.com saying:
“I find it to be the height of hypocrisy that he sets his campaign to be on the moral high ground against Roy Moore.”
According to Yurkanin, the case was settled and Benefield says she cannot discuss the details of court proceedings given the settlement. However, she criticized Jones for his behavior during the mediation process saying Jones is “uncaring” and “calculated” adding:
“He was not a victim’s advocate. He was all for blaming the victim, honestly. I just think Doug Jones is full of … something. He was cold, uncaring, unfeeling and calculated throughout the case.”