WKU student files lawsuit claiming assault, emotional distress and negligence against university

WKU+student+files+lawsuit+claiming+assault%2C+emotional+distress+and+negligence+against+university

Michael Crimmins, Administration reporter

Editor’s note: This story contains reference to violence, which could be disturbing to readers. If you are a survivor of domestic violence, resources are available at the Counseling and Testing Center. This story will be updated as more information becomes available. This story has been updated to include comments from Stella House and Housing Residence Life.

A WKU student filed a lawsuit alleging she was assaulted in her dorm and suffered emotional distress through the negligence of Western Kentucky University.

Eloise House, with her attorney Stella House, lists WKU, WKU President Timothy Caboni, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron and Quandell Crowe as defendants. Stella House is the mother of the plaintiff, according to Eloise’s Facebook page.

Advertisement

All defendants are “extension of the Commonwealth of Kentucky” and all caused House emotional distress either through negligence or through assault, as is the case with Crowe, according to the suit.

The lawsuit originally did not mention Caboni or Cameron but did name the WKU Foundation, which is the umbrella for the Student Life Foundation, who owns the dorm, as a defendant.

The amended lawsuit brings five counts against the defendants from negligence to assault and battery.

“This is an action for actual damages, statutory damages, and punitive damages brought by [the] plaintiff against defendants for malicious, willful, knowing, and/or negligent actions,” the lawsuit states. “Including […] negligence, false imprisonment, assault and battery, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.”

House’s lawyer said she hopes this lawsuit will cause a change in university policy that will ensure this kind of incident cannot occur again.

“Eloise hopes this lawsuit will be an impetus for WKU to make needed changes in its policies and procedures,” Stella House said. “She wants to make certain that other WKU students never face violence at the hands of a non-student with a criminal (including domestic violence) history in a WKU dormitory room. If WKU had enacted and enforced appropriate policies and procedures, she believes she would not have been assaulted by her dorm mate’s 29 year old boyfriend, Quandell Lamonte Crowe, in her WKU dormitory room at 2:30 am. She believes it’s past time for WKU to put the safety of its students first.”

Jace Lux, university spokesperson, said they value student safety but due to the nature of litigation they cannot comment further.

“The safety and well-being of the campus community is the university’s utmost priority,” Lux said in an email. “As is customary when the university is involved in ongoing legal proceedings, WKU does not have additional comment at this time.”

WKU Police Department declined to comment about the case, but said Lux’s comment would be sufficient.

The lawsuit stated House, who began attending WKU in January 2022, was assaulted by Crowe, who was not a WKU student but was residing in Munday Hall with his girlfriend, House’s roommate, after WKU failed to inform her about Crowe’s previous incidents.

Crowe was escorted off the WKU campus and charged with fourth degree assault, the court case states.

“WKU failed to perform [the duty to protect the plaintiff] despite numerous warning signs that defendant Crowe, a dangerous individual with a criminal record and a history of domestic violence, [showed],” the lawsuit states.

Previously, Crowe was charged with Marijuana possession in 2012, when he was 20, and plead guilty, receiving a $25 fine and 12 month unsupervised probation. In 2018, Crowe was arrested and charged with assault in the fourth degree.

The lawsuit states he did not complete his court ordered anger management classes or his domestic violence counseling, but a “certificate of performance of community labor” was filed on May 20, 2021.

In November 2021, Crowe’s girlfriend’s former roommate “requested assistance from WKU’s Police Department to report an issue with her roommate and her boyfriend [Crowe],” the court case states.

While living in Munday Hall, Crowe owned “a handgun, and was trafficking Marijuana, and that Marijuana was located in the dorm room.”

WKUPD did not make Crowe leave campus and was denied consent to search the dorm room after the former roommate contacted WKUPD again.

Crowe then told officers that he had a firearm inside his vehicle, and WKUPD officers accompanied Crowe to his vehicle where he showed them the firearm.

Despite firearms being “strictly forbidden on any property owned, leased, operated or controlled by WKU” including private vehicles parked on WKU property, Crowe “was not cited by the WKU police officers or asked to leave WKU’s campus or even Munday Hall,” the lawsuit states.

“Despite [the former roommates] persistence, no action was taken by WKU or its employees,” according to the case.

The following semester, January 2022, House moved in, never being informed of Crowe’s incidents, according to the case. Due to this “negligence” on the part of WKU, she states she suffers from emotional distress resulting from the assault.

She was approved for an emotional support animal but “still lived in constant fear” and was “unable to sleep at night […] despite counseling,” the lawsuit states. The court case also states “as a direct or proximate result of defendant’s joint negligence” House suffers from fits of anger and rage, fear of being touched, trouble focusing and depression.

Count four concerns false imprisonment committed by Crowe to House, according to the lawsuit, stating she was held down and “drug by her hair.”

House is seeking actual damages, costs, interest and attorney fees both from the defendants “jointly and severally.”

House is currently taking spring 2023 classes online “in order to stay in college but alleviate her mental anguish and distress as much as reasonably possible.”

To view the full lawsuit, click here.

It is important to note a civil lawsuit represents the claims made by the plaintiff and does not represent both sides of the case.

Administration reporter Michael Crimmins can be reached at [email protected].