Marshall student submits Kennedy Plea in assault case

Marshall University student Joseph Hardin has been placed on probation after he submitted a Kennedy plea in court Wednesday.

Hardin, 19, was originally charged with sexual assault, but was sentenced for misdemeanor battery.

According to the police report filed at the Marshall University Police Department, a female student reported the alleged assault Feb. 1 of last year at 4:24 p.m.

Judge Alfred Ferguson sentenced Hardin to a year in jail, but suspended that and instead placed Hardin on three years probation. The judge also ruled that Hardin cannot have contact with the female victim.

Social media posts criticizing the university arose in the month following the reported attack. The posts said the university was putting female students in danger by not taking action.

Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert said in a May 2016 news release that the university does not condone this type of violence.

“With regard to the case that has been widely discussed on social media over the last couple of days, I want to be absolutely clear that Marshall University does not condone or ‘cover up’ sexual assault,” Gilbert said in the release. “The safety of our students is one of our primary obligations.”