Judge tosses college assault suit amid more rape charges

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A federal judge said a lawsuit brought by a former Marshall University student failed to show the West Virginia school could be held legally liable for its handling of an on-campus rape case.
District Judge Robert C. Chambers on Tuesday filed an order explaining that he threw out Alicia Gonzales’ case because it didn’t show Marshall was “deliberately indifferent” and said the college carried out numerous efforts to protect her.
Gonzales says she was raped in her dorm room in 2016 by fellow student Joseph Chase Hardin, who was later convicted of battery and given three years’ probation.
Her civil suit said the school botched a disciplinary process and let Hardin remain on campus as he harassed her after the alleged assault.
A college spokeswoman said Marshall is satisfied with the judge’s decision and has maintained that the school followed state law and federal regulations in the case, including issuing a no-contact order.
Chambers dismissed the case in a filing last week but didn’t immediately explain the decision. Gonzales’ attorney has said he is disappointed in the ruling.
Marshall expelled Hardin in June after new sexual assault charges emerged involving two other women in separate 2018 incidents. He has been sentenced to a year in jail for violating probation related to his conviction in Gonzales’ case and has a September trial date set for the new charges.
Hardin, 22, has maintained his innocence in the more recent case and said his sexual interactions with the two women were consensual.