UPDATE | Marshall University expels student charged with sexual assault

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ) - UPDATE 6/12/2019
Marshall University has expelled a student who is facing sexual assault charges. The student also appeared in court Wednesday morning in connection with his criminal case.

University officials say Joseph Chase Hardin, 22, violated the student conduct policy.

This is the second time Hardin has been charged with sexual assault since being a student at the university. He was arrested for sexual assault in 2016, but was ultimately convicted of a misdemeanor battery charge.

He currently faces four new counts of sexual assault. According to court records, Hardin is accused of attacking two women on separate occasions off campus in the fall of 2018.

“We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive steps to make sure the entire Marshall community is safe," said President Jerome A. Gilbert. "I have zero tolerance for inappropriate, illegal behavior, and pledge that we will always treat sexual misconduct and violence with the utmost gravity. The safety of our students is our first obligation.”

His expulsion took effect Tuesday, June 11. A university spokeswoman says the decision is final.

"Marshall University has expelled Joseph Chase Hardin for disciplinary reasons in accordance with the university’s SA-3 Student Conduct Disciplinary Procedures," a press release from the university states. "The university determined Hardin violated Marshall University Board of Governors Policy GA-1 as it relates to sections 3.3.4 {Sexual Harassment} and 3.4.1 {Sexual Misconduct}."

The university drew backlash following Hardin's first arrest in 2016 for allowing the suspect to remain a student. Hardin has been continuously enrolled as a student since 2016.

He was 19 years old at the time. According to the police report filed at the Marshall University Police Department, a female student accused Hardin of assaulting her in February of 2016.

He was originally charged with second-degree sexual assault in that case, but entered a Kennedy plea on Jan. 11, 2017 for a misdemeanor battery charge. That type of plea means the defendant accepts punishment, but does not admit guilt.

In that first, Judge Alfred Ferguson sentenced Hardin to a year in jail, but suspended that sentence and gave him three years of probation. Following these new charges, prosecutors are requesting the judge revoke his probation and reinstate a jail sentence.

Hardin appeared before Judge Gregory Howard Wednesday morning and said he wanted to waive a preliminary probation revocation hearing. The case will now return to Judge Ferguson's courtroom for a final sentencing.

A date for the hearing in Judge Ferguson's courtroom has not been set yet. Hardin was arrested Friday

ORIGINAL STORY
New sexual assault charges have been filed against a student who has been able to remain at Marshall University despite being convicted in a 2016 attack against another woman on campus.

News outlets report 22-year-old Joseph Hardin now faces second-degree sexual assault charges involving two more women in September and October 2018. Hardin was jailed Friday for violating probation in the previous case, and has a Wednesday court hearing.

Hardin was indicted on the same charge in 2016, but ultimately entered a Kennedy plea to a lesser charge of battery, allowing him to be convicted without admitting guilt.

Marshall spokeswoman Leah Payne says Hardin is enrolled. An ongoing lawsuit against the school says Hardin's continued attendance forced the first victim to leave the college.

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6/11/2019 7:03:06 AM (GMT -4:00)