Cherelle Locklear: Student kills self after being raped at university, says suit
Cherelle Jovanna Locklear, was a 21-year-old college student at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She was in school to learn, to make a difference. She took her life after the university purportedly botched an investigation into her alleged rape, according to a lawsuit filed by her mother.
The university didn't do “an appropriate and thorough investigation,” the lawsuit alleges. It also says that the man who raped Cherelle was not “confronted nor charged” by the school's officers, according to the suit, which was obtained by several media organizations.
Cherelle's mother, Marquesa C. Jackson-Locklear, said her daughter was raped at the university's Sigma Pi fraternity house in late September 2015, according to the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Cherelle then tried to kill herself a few weeks later in the middle of October. The following month, she was successful.
Cherelle was found in her dormitory bathroom by roommates on November 22, 2015, according to the Star-Ledger.
On September 8, 2016 nearly a year after he daughter committed suicide, Jackson-Locklear filed a lawsuit.
In a written statement to the Huffington Post, Sigma Pi said that the accused man was not a member of the fraternity and was kicked off campus in 2014 for an unrelated reason.
“However, given that the incident occurred at an off-campus property where active members lived, once we learned of this incident, we took immediate action, including initiating an internal review and working with the University during its investigation,” Jason Walker, the executive director of Sigma Pi Fraternity International, told HuffPo.
In a letter to the university community, the school denies many of the allegations made by the Locklear family.
"We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed by the Locklear family charging that the University did not properly investigate an alleged sexual assault. While we have not yet been served with the lawsuit and cannot comment on the specifics of this case, we deny the accuracy of many of the statements reported in the media.
At William Paterson University, we encourage our students to report allegations of sexual assault and we follow all federal and state laws and guidelines for reporting and investigating allegations of sexual assault."