The Northerner

Judge denies gag order in sexual assault lawsuit

Abby Anstead, Editor-in-Chief

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COVINGTON, Ky. — Judge William O. Bertlesman rejected Northern Kentucky University’s motion for a gag order in court Tuesday, denying the sealing of court documents in the ongoing federal lawsuit involving a female student who says the university mishandled her sexual assault case.

Bertlesman’s ruling is the latest in the lawsuit involving a female student, identified as Jane Doe in the suit, who said she was raped in 2013 by a fellow student in her dorm room.

Doe says the university did not protect her from her alleged attacker and did not enforce his sanctions.

The Northern Kentucky Tribune reported that Bertlesman said the case does not call for a gag order and the motion cannot be justified.

Bertlesman also said every effort will be made to ensure a fair trial, according to The Northern Kentucky Tribune.  

The university filed a motion for the gag order on Aug. 26, following a July 12 court deposition given by former Police Chief Les Kachurek.

RELATED: NKU seeks gag order in sexual assault lawsuit

Upon filing the motion, university spokesperson Amanda Nageleisen said the motion hinged on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law to protect student privacy rights.  

Nageleisen said although the motion was denied, Bertlesman recognized the importance of  student privacy rights.

“We’re pleased the court has recognized the importance of student privacy rights, and we look forward to working with Mr. Murphy on this matter,” Nageleisen said in a statement.

Kevin Murphy, Doe’s attorney, along with NKU lawyers, will reach an agreement on what can be released, according to The Northern Kentucky Tribune.

A settlement conference will take place Nov. 15, according to court documents.      

The Northerner will update this story with more information as it becomes available.      

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Judge denies gag order in sexual assault lawsuit