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MU student convicted of battery indicted on sex-assault charges

HUNTINGTON — A man currently serving probation for battery after he was accused of an on-campus sexual assault of a then-fellow Marshall University student has been charged with several new counts after two additional alleged victims came forward.

Joseph Hardin, 22, was booked in jail at 1 p.m. Friday on a probation hold related to a 2017 plea to battery in his original case. The Cabell County grand jury returned the new indictment last week, and it was unsealed by Cabell Circuit Judge Alfred E. Ferguson on Friday. An indictment does not determine guilt or innocence and the case will now move forward to trial.

Hardin is scheduled to appear in Cabell Circuit Judge Greg Howard’s courtroom at 9 a.m. Wednesday for a hearing regarding his potential probation revocation. His new case has been assigned to Ferguson, who oversaw the original case. Ferguson has not yet set an arraignment date for the charges in the new indictments, according to court officials.

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 campus-wide 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. 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 pending against the university in federal court.

The June 2019 indictment charges Hardin with four felony counts of second-degree sexual assault involving the alleged attack of two females on two different dates in September and October.

The Herald-Dispatch typically does not disclose the name of alleged sexual assault victims, given the nature of the crime.

Hardin has been continuously enrolled at Marshall since 2016, said Leah Payne, communications director for Marshall, and as of Monday was enrolled for the fall semester. Payne said the most recent charges do not include allegations that the reported attacks took place on campus and the Marshall University Police Department was not involved in the cases.

Hardin is being housed at the Western Regional Jail, in Barboursville, without bail.

CONTACT Rape Crisis Center provides free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault and stalking in Cabell, Lincoln, Wayne and Mason counties. CONTACT may be reached at 866-399-7273 or 304-399-1111.

Funerals for Thursday, September 19, 2019

Amos, Carolyn - 3 p.m., Adams-Reed Funeral Home, Cowen.

Crane, Margie - Noon, Bartlett-Nichols Funeral Home, St. Albans.

Davis, June - 3 p.m., Tyree Funeral Home, Oak Hill. 

Dempsey, Freda - 11 a.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Given, Wanda - 1 p.m., Simons-Coleman Funeral Home, Richwood.

Riegler Sr., Russell - 2 p.m., WV Memorial Gardens, Calvin.

Turner, Shelbie - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Williams, Ira - 1 p.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Institute.