Conn. College Settles Defamation Lawsuit, Apologizes

Emergency management officials at the college wrongly identified the plaintiff as a rape suspect.
Published: January 12, 2017

Sacred Heart University in Connecticut is apologizing to a man school officials wrongly labelled a suspected rapist as part of a lawsuit settlement.

The defamation lawsuit was filed by 29-year-old Gary Douglas and was settled for $1 million on Jan. 11, although exact details of the agreement are confidential, reports the Connecticut Post.

Sacred Heart included Douglas’s name and photograph on leaflets it posted as part of a search for a man suspected in the off-campus rape of a student. The leaflets also instructed people not to allow Douglas on campus.

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Police have confirmed Douglas was not a suspect in the crime.

Douglas demanded university officials retract the leaflets more than three weeks after they had been posted but they did not.

“On behalf of Sacred Heart University, we extend apologies for a member of my staff misidentifying you in a BOLO leaflet displayed in connection with the assault that took place on a Sacred Heart University student on April 1, 2016,” Sacred Heart Director of Emergency Management and Public Safety Paul J. Healy wrote.

Police later used video surveillance footage to arrest Alfonso “Fonzie” Reid for the crime. Reid goes on trial next week.

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