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Ex-Student Fights College Over Fate of Alleged Rapist

Alicia Gonzales says it was terrifying to have her rapist remain on campus
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 15, 2019 11:00 AM CDT
In this Feb. 9, 2019 photo provided by Alicia Gonzales, Gonzales poses for a selfie, in Pittsburgh. Gonzales says she was forced to leave her dream college in West Virginia because the school allowed...   (Alicia Gonzales via AP)

(Newser) – The warnings came in text messages from her friends: He's outside the dorm. He's at the student center. He's at Starbucks. But for Alicia Gonzales, sometimes it didn't matter where he was, the AP reports. She would often hide away in her room on the campus of Marshall University, overcome with fear that she'd run into him—or be subjected to his ridicule—even after reporting that he raped her on school grounds. Months later, she left the school altogether. "Every time I saw him, it was horrible for me," she said Friday. "It was almost like I was in that same state of mind, reliving the assault itself and how fearful I was. I just felt like I was helpless." The AP does not typically identify sexual assault victims, but Gonzales has chosen to be identified.

Marshall this week expelled 22-year-old Joseph Chase Hardin amid new rape accusations involving two additional women and renewed scrutiny of the West Virginia school's handling of Gonzales' February 2016 case. The expulsion caps a lengthy disciplinary process during which Hardin was allowed to be on campus, according to Gonzales' ongoing federal lawsuit against the university. The college says it followed state law and federal regulations in its handling of Gonzales' case and kicked him out over concern for students' safety. But 22-year-old Gonzales, who now studies psychology at a college in Pennsylvania, is far from satisfied. "I felt completely betrayed by the university and I felt like I had absolutely no protection throughout it," she says. Click for the full story. (Or see what a Hollywood director paid to settle a rape claim.)


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