William Paterson University student kills herself after college ‘botched’ sex assault case: lawsuit

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PATERSON, N.J. — 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.

School officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Jackson-Locklear says her 21-year-old daughter, Cherelle Jovanna Locklear, said she was raped at a fraternity house in September 2015. Locklear, a student since 2012, reported it about a month later to the school’s victim services coordinator — after trying to kill herself.

The suit claims campus police failed to properly investigate. The lawsuit says Locklear then hanged herself in November 2015.

A William Paterson University spokeswoman provided a statement to NJ.com Tuesday on the case:

“We are, of course, saddened by the loss of a student under any circumstances, and particularly when the loss comes about by suicide. We are aware of the lawsuit filed by the student’s mother and are unable to comment on any such legal matters. The university will continue to focus on the safety and well-being of all of its members and offers a variety of counseling resources for students who seek help with personal challenges.”

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