HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A former student at Marshall University has filed a federal lawsuit against the university’s board of governors, claiming that the school’s decision to allow the man she accused of sexual assault to remain a student for months during a lengthy appeals process forced her to abandon her education at Marshall.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the lawsuit was filed Wednesday.

In 2017, Joseph Hardin entered a Kennedy plea to misdemeanor battery. A Kennedy plea allows a conviction without the defendant admitting guilt or explaining his role in a crime.

Senior vice president for communications and marketing Ginny Painter said the university hadn’t yet received the complaint and doesn’t speak on the specifics of pending litigation. But, Painter said the university would defend itself vigorously.