Marshall student convicted of battery released, awaits trial

An expelled Marshall University student convicted of sexually battering a fellow student has been released from jail and awaits a new trial on accusations he sexually assaulted two additional students last year

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A n expelled Marshall University student convicted of sexually battering a fellow student in 2016 completed his jail sentence and was released Tuesday to await a trial on accusations he sexually assaulted two additional students last year.

Joseph Chase Hardin, 22, was released on bond to home confinement after he served time for the battery sentence that was handed down in July, The Herald-Dispatch reported. He awaits a trial in February on four counts of second-degree sexual assault stemming from accusations he raped two Marshall University students in separate incidents in 2018.

Hardin was a student at the time of those allegations, but was expelled by the university soon after they emerged amid scrutiny into the administration's handling of the first case. In that 2016 account, a Marshall student accused him of assaulting her in a dorm room. She also sued the school for mishandling the case, but a federal judge ruled the school wasn't legally liable.

Hardin has maintained his innocence and said his interactions with the two women last year were consensual.