Alabama man accused of rape in Megan Rondini case takes out full-page attack ad against her

TJ Bunn’s lawyer claims their encounter was ‘consensual’ and media have reported ‘selective facts’

The Tuscaloosa man accused of rape in Megan Rondini’s tragic case has taken out a full-page advert to attack the student, who took her own life, in the local newspaper.

The ad is entitled “Character Assassination in the Internet Age” and claims the encounter between Megan and TJ Bunn, the son of a wealthy Alabaman family who calls himself “Sweet T,” was “consensual.”

It adds there are text messages that exonerate Bunn and that Megan’s lawyers are somehow trying to profit from the case.

Megan Rondini

Yesterday’s advert claims the shocking BuzzFeed account of how Megan reported her rape used “selective facts.”

“The horrible, misleading and blatantly false accusations of BuzzFeed and malicious false assertions of social media attackers are designed to do nothing more than attempt to extort money with a lawsuit,” it said.

The advert continued: “So why is the tragic suicide of this young woman now the subject of a lawsuit? It is because some of those involved have determined that money can be gained, one way or another, at the expense of this young woman’s reputation.

“It is regretful that BuzzFeed and a group of trial lawyers have chosen to potentially expose the most intimate and sensitive (and embarrassing) aspects of this young woman’s life in this lawsuit. But that is their choice and the result of their actions.”

The attack ad taken out against Megan Rondini. Credit: Donald V. Watkins

Lawyers for Megan’s family denounced the advert as “a clear attempt to bully the Rondini family.”

“The text messages Sweet-T’s lawyer refer to show exactly how a situation can devolve into a nightmare in a matter of minutes,” said Ontario Tillman of the Maxwell Law Firm. “It’s no accident that this paid ad carefully avoids to mention the messages and phone calls that occurred immediately after that tragic night. This is classic case of victim blaming and a sad attempt to justify a sexual assault.”

Michael and Cindy Rondini filed a wrongful death suit after their daughter took her life in February 2016, eight months after the alleged attack took place.

Their lawsuit says TJ Bunn avoided a criminal charge because of his wealth and connections in Tuscaloosa.

Megan’s case reached Congress yesterday after Representatives Ted Poe and Carolyn Maloney introduced the Megan Rondini Act. It aims to make sure hospitals always have a Sexual Assault Forensic Examiner available – there were no medical staff trained in forensic procedure when Megan went to her local hospital.

This is one of the ways in which sexual assault campaigners say Megan was “failed by the people meant to protect her.” End Rape on Campus, an advocacy group, say police, the local hospital and her university didn’t offer Megan the help she needed.

She died after transferring to another university. A medical intake form for her school’s mental health center was found next to her body, which asked her if she had experienced any major losses, changes or crises in her life.

It said: “Raped, bullied by police, changed university.”