West Virginia Record

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Marshall settles suit filed by student who claimed it mishandled inquiry into sex assault claim


By Kyla Asbury | Mar 18, 2019


CHARLESTON — Marshall University has settled a lawsuit filed last year that alleged it mishandled an investigation into a student's report of a sexual assault.

A dismissal order was filed in the case March 5 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

"All matters in controversy between and among these parties have been fully settled and compromised," the dismissal order states. "Plaintiff moves the court to dismiss, with prejudice, all claims asserted by the plaintiff against the defendant."

Caitlyn L. Lucado filed the lawsuit against Marshall University Board of Governors in August. Marshall never filed a response in federal court to the case. 

Lucado claimed during the early morning hours of her first week as a freshman in August 2016, she was sexually assaulted by a male student in her dormitory room and reported the sexual assault to Marshall University's campus police. 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, allegedly due to adverse actions and inactions taken by the university after her sexual assault.

Lucado was seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She was represented by Bader Giggenbach of Brewer & Giggenbach; and Robert McCoid of McCamic, Sacco & McCoid.

Marshall was represented by Lou Ann Cyrus of Shuman McCuskey & Slicer.

The terms of the settlement were not made public.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 3:18-cv-01254

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Marshall University