Former WKU swimmer reaches $75,000 settlement in hazing suit
A former WKU swimmer reached a settlement after claiming to have been hazed and assaulted by his teammates.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Western Kentucky University has agreed to pay a former swimmer $75,000 to settle a federal lawsuit against the school which claimed the student was mentally and physically abused by athletic officials and teammates.
The Aug. 4 settlement stipulated that the university pay Collin Craig $50,000 and the insurance carrier for the school pay an additional $25,000, according to documents obtained under the Kentucky Open Records Act.
According to the settlement, the university continues to deny any wrongdoing. Craig agreed not to say anything negative about Western, the settlement stipulates.
An attorney for the university, Tom Kerrick, told the Bowling Green Daily News that the settlement was “an economic resolution of a doubted and disputed claim."
Craig, who lives in California, claimed during his freshman year in 2014, teammates forced him to drink, repeatedly hit him in the testicles and made him clean up vomit.
In April 2015, Western suspended its intercollegiate swimming and diving program for five years, after a police investigation into claims of abuse.
Craig's lawsuit, filed in Bowling Green, claimed that at a party on Oct. 6, 2014, he was "choked to the point of passing out" by a teammate and ordered to strip to his underwear and wear a horse head mask. A video of that event was shown to other people, according to the suit.
Also, Craig claimed he was forced to vandalize a statue on campus of "former WKU president Cherry." At times, members of the swim team would keep Craig "obedient" and dissuade him from reporting the abuse by threatening him with a rifle, the lawsuit claims.
In addition, Craig claims he was threatened with forced sexual violence, suffered sleep deprivation and falsely told that he had been charged with rape.
An investigation by Bowling Green Police and WKU's Title IX Coordinator Huda Melky found evidence of violations of WKU's Student Code of Conduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Title IX Sexual Misconduct / Assault Policy.
During the investigation, police searched a home near WKU's campus.
A collage of pictures that showed highly intoxicated people that were nude or partially nude in compromising positions was found.
His attorney, Vanessa Cantley, told the Daily News that Craig was “absolutely satisfied” with the verdict.
“Hopefully, Collin can put this behind him now and continue to swim,” she told the newspaper.
The lawsuit is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.
The swim team has produced one Olympian in its history. Claire Donahue graduated from WKU in 2011. She went on to win a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
WKU declined to comment on this story.
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