CHARLESTON — A former Marshall University student is suing the school after she claims the university mishandled an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.
Caitlyn L. Lucado filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia at Charleston against Marshall University Board of Governors.
During the early morning hours of her first week as a freshman in August 2016, Lucado claims she was sexually assaulted by a male student in her dormitory room and reported the sexual assault to Marshall University's campus police.
Badder Giggenbach | Brewer & Giggenbach site
Lucado claims she was treated at Cabell Huntington Hospital within an hour of the assault.
At the time of the incident, Lucado had been under the influence of alcohol, but she had repeatedly told her assailant to stop assaulting her and a female witness corroborated this, according to the suit.
Lucado claims the female witness and a male witness were also having sex in the room at the same time as her alleged assault.
After the incident, Marshall police only charged Lucado's assailant with underage consumption and he was not charged with any sexual crimes, according to the suit.
Throughout the semester, Lucado saw her assailant several times, which caused her severe emotional distress, according to the suit.
Lucado claims in November 2016, the Director of Student Conduct informed her that a meeting would be held with Marshall's Title IX coordinator regarding the assault, however, the coordinator did not show up to the meeting.
A month later, the assailant was found "not responsible" for Lucado's assault and no sanctions were taken against him by the university. Lucado then appealed the finding and in May 2017, the appeal was denied.
In August, Lucado withdrew from Marshall due to adverse actions and inactions taken by the university after her sexual assault, according to the suit.
Lucado is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is represented by Bader C. Giggenbach of Brewer & Giggenbach; and Robert G. McCoid of McCamic, Sacco & McCoid.
Giggenbach and McCoid issued a joint statement to The West Virginia Record regarding the lawsuit.
"The West Virginia Rules of Professional Conduct, which govern the practice of law, prohibit lawyers in a case from making a statement to the media which has a likelihood of prejudicing any trial of the case. Several media outlets have reported on Marshall’s initial response to the suit, which states: 'Marshall University does not comment on pending litigation other than to say the university will vigorously defend itself and expects to prevail in this case.' Our response to this statement is that the Plaintiff will vigorously prosecute the case and that we expect to prevail."
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia Case number: 3:18-cv-01254