WAYNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A woman says in a lawsuit that her daughter killed herself because a New Jersey college failed to fully investigate a sex-assault claim.
Marquesa Jackson-Locklear filed the lawsuit against William Paterson University on Thursday. It alleges school officials knew about, but didn’t address, sexual violence against students, creating a climate in which such misconduct was tolerated.
The lawsuit says Cherelle Jovanna Locklear, 21, was raped at the Sigma Pi fraternity house in September 2015, but did not report the rape until after her first suicide attempt one month later, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
Locklear’s family claims William Paterson’s victim advocate did not notify the police until a month after Locklear reported the crime and that police failed to properly investigate the incident.
The lawsuit says Locklear then hanged herself with a necktie in a dormitory bathroom in November 2015.
The federal civil rights suit claims Title 9 required William Paterson to take action.
Cardozo law professor Marcy Hamilton says the suit has potential to set a precedent in future cases.
“That would be a remarkable precedent because there are plenty of other victims that would be capable of lining up right behind her,” Hamilton said.
The lawyer for Locklear’s mother declined an interview with WCBS 880.
William Paterson University did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
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