Expelled student facing more rape charges remains jailed

By Anthony Izaguirre | APJune 25 at 6:56 PM

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A man who was allowed to remain enrolled at Marshall University despite being accused of raping a student will stay jailed after being expelled amid new sexual assault charges.

A West Virginia circuit court judge on Tuesday ordered that Joseph Chase Hardin remain in custody following his arraignment on the more recent charges that he raped two additional women last year.

All three women Hardin is accused of assaulting watched from the courtroom gallery as he was led in wearing an orange jumpsuit, his hands and feet shackled. A father of one of the women became visibly angry as the sight of Hardin, gritting his teeth and breathing heavily as his face reddened.

Judge Alfred E. Ferguson then read a graphic description of the assaults and asked Hardin if he understood the charges. He responded that he did.

His attorney, Kerry A. Nessel, told the judge that Hardin is innocent and asked for his release.

“He’s languishing in jail for something he did not do,” Nessel said. The judge immediately batted down the request.

FILE-This Friday, June 7, 2019 file booking photo provided by the West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority shows Joseph Hardin. Hardin, who was allowed to remain enrolled at Marshall University despite being accused of raping a student, will remain jailed after being expelled amid two new sexual assault charges. A circuit court judge in West Virginia on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 ordered that Joseph Chase Hardin will stay in custody following his arraignment on the more recent charges. (West Virginia Regional Jail & Correctional Facility Authority via AP) (Associated Press)

Hardin, 22, was indicted and jailed earlier this month on second-degree sexual assault charges for the alleged rapes in 2018. He had been previously ordered to stay behind bars for violating probation in the earlier case, in which he was accused of raping former Marshall student Alicia Gonzales in her dorm room in February 2016 but was convicted on a lesser charge of battery.

Gonzales, who drove in from Pennsylvania for the court hearing, said she locked eyes with Hardin as he entered the room.

“I just wanted to see him in ‘cuffs and in an orange jumpsuit,” she said. “That’s exactly what I wanted to see. I felt like that would bring me comfort.”

She has filed a federal lawsuit that accuses Marshall of botching Hardin’s disciplinary process and allowing him to stay on campus and taunt her, which led to her leaving the college months after the alleged rape. Read more @