Norwich University Faces Lawsuit From Former Student Over Alleged Sexual Assault

Sep 27, 2017

A former Norwich University student is suing the school, alleging it failed to protect her from an alleged sexual assault.

Nineteen-year-old Lauren Morrissey alleges three female students had previously complained to Norwich of sexual harassment, abuse or assault by a male student who assaulted her in November 2016.

Morrissey's suit states that Norwich later found her claim of assault to be credible and removed the male student from the school, but the university did not discipline him after the three earlier complaints.

The civil lawsuit was filed in Burlington's federal court last week.

Speaking to the press Tuesday outside the U.S District Court in Burlington, Morrissey explained why she chose to go public.

"I kind of wanted to speak out for the other victims of him, because they didn't have this voice," Morrissey said. "As to revealing my name and my face, I just believe that people could relate to me more if they know who I am."

"I'm not really embarrassed. I'm more upset and ... I just want to fight back, and I don't feel like I should have to hide myself in order to that," Morrissey said.

Florida-based lawyer Jeff Herman is Morrissey's attorney. He has represented sexual abuse victims in civil suits around the country.

Burlington attorney Jerome F. O'Neill filed the suit as Morrissey's local counsel, and O'Neill says he'll file a motion to admit Herman to the case.

Herman says he believes Norwich University owes Morrissey.

"All we can do, all Lauren can do, is seek monetary damages. ... A jury will decide what that is, but I believe when a young woman is sexually assaulted, the damages are well into the millions of dollars," Herman said.

According to the suit, Morrissey is seeking damages "in excess of $75,000."

Asked for comment on the suit, a spokesperson for Norwich University issued the following written statement:

"Norwich University takes seriously any report of misconduct within our community. Norwich investigates each and every allegation to the fullest extent possible and subsequently takes action when and where appropriate. At Norwich University, we prioritize student safety above all else."

A separate criminal investigation into the alleged sexual assault is ongoing, according to Morrissey and Herman.