UPDATE | Judge tosses college assault suit amid more rape charges

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 7/31/19 @ 5:30 p.m.
A federal judge says a lawsuit brought by a former Marshall University student has failed to show the school could be held legally liable for allegedly mishandling an on-campus rape case.

Several Title IX lawsuits have been filed against Marshall University for the school's handling of sexual assault cases.

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."

Gonzales says she was raped in 2016 by fellow student Joseph Chase Hardin. He was convicted of battery in the case.

Her civil suit said the school had botched a disciplinary process and let Hardin remain on campus.

A college spokeswoman says Marshall is satisfied with the decision and has maintained the school followed state law and federal regulations in the case.

Hardin was expelled last month after new sexual assault charges emerged.

Several Title IX lawsuits have been filed against Marshall University's Board of Governors for their handling of sexual assault cases.

One of those lawsuits was just settled in March of 2019.

Marshall agreed to pay $55,000 to a former student to settle that lawsuit. The lawsuit claims that assault happened in August 2016 on Marshall's campus. The lawsuit claims the victim was "directly exposed to her assailant multiple times on the Marshall campus," and that Marshall could have "easily implemented interim measures to prevent such exposure, but it did not."

In the lawsuit, it says the female victim dropped out of the university in August 2018.

In 2018, a separate Title IX lawsuit was filed against the university. This one, by the 2016 victim of Joseph Hardin. Click here for that story.

In that lawsuit, the student says in February of 2016, she was violently raped in her dorm room on Marshall's campus by Hardin.

She says despite reporting the rape to Marshall University Police and school officials and getting a protection order against Hardin, university officials did not follow their own policies and procedures when handling the case. It also says Hardin was allowed to remain on campus for months after the incident.

In the lawsuit, it alleges that the university's "adverse actions, actions, and failures, committed and perpetrated against the Plaintiff constitute unlawful sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender. The harassment and discrimination suffered by Plaintiff was sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive so as to create an abusive and hostile educational environment for the Plaintiff, and it denied her access to educational opportunities and benefits."

It also alleges that the university "created and subjected Plaintiff to a hostile education environment in violation of Title XI of the Education Amendments of 1972."

In May of 2018, a decision was made to ban Hardin from campus until his criminal case wrapped up. However, he was still taking online courses.

In January of 2017, Hardin entered a Kennedy plea to a lesser charge of battery in the case and then requested he be reinstated to the university. That request was granted.

The student who filed the Title IX lawsuit against the university Board of Governors in the Hardin case ended up dropping out of Marshall. So far, no ruling has been made in her case against the university.

Marshall tells us Hardin has continuously been a student at the university since 2016 and enrolled for the Fall 2019 semester. On Wednesday, the university said Hardin has now been expelled following new sexual assault charges filed last week. They say that decision is final.

We reached out to several universities Tuesday about their student conduct and discipline policies: