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Student sues CEO of Minecraft Education Edition's Chinese publisher

Minneapolis woman claims Richard Liu forced himself on a woman at her apartment following a company-funded networking event

The CEO of Minecraft: Education Edition's publisher in China, JD.com, has been accused of rape in a civil lawsuit by a Minnesota college student.

The New York Times reports that the complaint comes from an undergraduate who met CEO Richard Liu at a networking event he had organized and paid for using a JD.com corporate card. According to the lawsuit, the student was encouraged to drink and when she attempted to leave, was directed to a company-hired limo and followed by Liu. He allegedly groped her during the ride, followed her to her apartment, and raped her.

The student reported the incident to a friend immediately after, claiming in the suit she did not contact authorities "out of fear for her safety and that of her family." The friend called 911, and Liu was arrested that night. However, he was released shortly after and returned to China.

In December, Minnesota prosecutors said they could not find enough evidence to charge him with sexual assault.

In a civil suit filed on Tuesday in Minneapolis, the student says that the event led her to withdraw from her college classes and seek counseling. She is pursuing over $50,000 in damages.

Liu's lawyer, Jill Brisbois, has said on behalf of the defendant that the interactions were consensual. "We feel strongly that this suit is without merit," she said, "and will vigorously defend against it."

Just last week, the Chinese e-commerce company JD.com purchased the publishing rights to Minecraft: Education Edition in China in an effort to expand its reach into the country's education sector.

Microsoft declined a request from GamesIndustry.biz for comment. JD.com sent the following statement from Peter Walsh of Hogan Lovells, counsel for JD.com:

"We are not in position to comment at this time, but we will vigorously defend these meritless claims against the company."

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Rebekah Valentine

Senior Staff Writer

Rebekah arrived at GamesIndustry in 2018 after four years of freelance writing and editing across multiple gaming and tech sites. When she's not recreating video game foods in a real life kitchen, she's happily imagining herself as an Animal Crossing character.