HUNTINGTON — A Huntington man convicted of misdemeanor battery in 2017 and now facing probation revocation in the on-campus sexual assault of a women has waived his initial hearing.
Joseph Chase Hardin, 22, appeared before Cabell Circuit Judge Gregory Howard Wednesday and told him he wished to waive the preliminary revocation hearing. Hardin was jailed last week on a probation hold on allegations he had committed two additional rapes and consumed alcohol, both of which are against the rules of his probation
Marshall University announced Wednesday that Hardin has been expelled from the school.
The case will now return to Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson’s courtroom, where he will face final sentencing. He faces up to a year in jail for the misdemeanor battery charge.
A date for that hearing has not been set.
Despite the 2016 case occurring on Marshall University’s campus, Hardin had not been expelled and was enrolled in the Fall 2019 semester until Wednesday.
Marshall University released a statement Wednesday announcing his expulsion after the new allegations.
“We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive steps to make sure the entire Marshall community is safe," President Jerome Gilbert said. "I have zero tolerance for inappropriate, illegal behavior, and pledge that we will always treat sexual misconduct and violence with the utmost gravity. The safety of our students is our first obligation.”
Gilbert said pursuant to the university’s Student Conduct Disciplinary Procedures, the decision is final.
Hardin was named this month in a four count felony indictment charging him with four counts of second-degree sexual assault surrounding Fall 2018 cases involving two women. Marshall has said those cases did not occur on campus.
He will be arraigned on those charges later this month. He faces 10 to 25 years on each of those counts.
In the original case, the defendant was indicted in 2016 on a single count of second-degree sexual assault after a female student, who has since left the university, implicated him. The university had issued a campuswide alert at 6:20 p.m. Feb. 1, 2016, that a student reported she was assaulted that afternoon in a room at an on-campus residence hall.
Hardin entered a Kennedy plea to misdemeanor battery in 2017 and was sentenced to serve three years’ probation in that case. A Kennedy plea allows a conviction without the defendant admitting guilt or explaining his role in a crime.
A lawsuit filed by the alleged victim is currently pending against the university in federal court. The lawsuit alleges it violated Title IX standards by allowing the attacker to remain a student, which forced the victim to leave the university.
Hardin is represented by defense attorney Kerry Nessel.
Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHDand via Twitter @HesslerHD.