Student to sue over gang rape

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The Independent Online
A STUDENT who was gang- raped by Red Army soldiers while on an exchange trip to the Ukraine is planning to sue the university that sent her there.

Erin McLean, now 25, has waived her legal right to anonymity to try to shame St Andrews, the Scottish university from which she later graduated in Russian.

Miss McLean was raped by three Russian soldiers while attending Odessa State University in the Ukraine as part of her studies. She and fellow students claim that St Andrews knew about the brutal attack but did not end the exchange.

Miss McLean and her boyfriend, who was beaten and forced to witness the rape, were promised a full investigation by the Scottish university last April. She and three other students now plan to sue the university.

No action has yet been taken by St Andrews to investigate the assault, although a meeting was held this month to discuss the Odessa exchange programme.

The father of another student, Lindsay McGee, who was on the same exchange trip, says the university told him of the rape days after it happened, but suggested the victim was promiscuous. Ms McGee has also complained about conditions on the Odessa campus and is still seeking compensation for the trip.

Speaking publicly for the first time since the attack, Miss McLean said: "I have just had to live with this. It is something that is always there.

"The university allowed the exchange to go ahead without some knowledge of what the provisions were.

"You would have thought that, if the university was to approve the exchange, they would put the place through a rigorous examination.

"If they didn't stop the exchange, then we wanted them to take serious moves to ensure that there was proper protection there."

A spokeswoman for the university said: "The (university) court determined that the university's executive should prepare an action plan upon the basis of the report, which will be considered by the court at the time of its next meeting.

"Until then, the court has decided that no further statement will be made."