Lawsuit alleging 2005 sexual assault at College moves to settlement conference
An ongoing federal lawsuit alleges that a Tuck graduate student sexually assaulted a College undergraduate in 2005.
A settlement conference for two Dartmouth alumni embroiled in a legal dispute over an alleged sexual assault in 2005 has been scheduled for Oct. 18.
Monica Morrison ’07, a freelance writer, and Rob Langrick Tu’ 06, a head of practice analysis at the CFA Institute and former Bloomberg executive, have filed charges against one another based on a sexual encounter that occurred while Morrison was a College sophomore and Langrick was a graduate student at the Tuck School of Business.
In her original lawsuit filed in November 2018, Morrison alleged that the 2005 encounter was sexual assault, but Langrick denies these accusations and claims that the two shared a consensual encounter, according to counterclaims submitted by Langrick’s counsel. After a decade of silence on the case between 2005 and 2016, the two have been involved in a legal back-and-forth. Most recently, the settlement conference originally scheduled for today in federal court in the Eastern District of New York was rescheduled for next week.
The alleged incident occurred on the evening of May 7, 2005 and extended into the early morning of the next day when Morrison, then a 19-year-old sophomore at Dartmouth, and Langrick, a 29-year-old graduate student, met at a party at Bones Gate fraternity. Neither party disputes that they met, played pong together and eventually returned to Morrison’s residence at the Panarchy house. In court filings, Morrison claims that Langrick attempted to assault her in her bed while she was unconscious due to incapacitation from alcohol, while Langrick claims that the two of them had a consensual sexual encounter on the cupola of the Panarchy house before returning to Morrison’s room.
Morrison, after speaking with a Sexual Assault Peer Advisor a few days after the alleged incident, requested an investigation by the Hanover Police department. After interviewing Morrison, her roommate, her roommate’s boyfriend (both of whom were in the room at the time of the incident), and other residents of the Panarchy house, now-retired Hanover Police captain Frank Moran concluded that there was not evidence to support a sexual assault charge, according to court filings.
On May 31, 2005, four days after Morrison and her father were informed by Moran that no sexual assault charges would be pursued against Langrick, Morrison’s legal counsel sent a letter to Langrick, informing him that Morrison intended to pursue a lawsuit. In the letter, Morrison’s counsel informed Langrick that he wished to “provide [him] with the opportunity to discuss a potential settlement in this case, thereby avoiding the expense and publicity which would be a probable cause of a lawsuit in this manner.”
Langrick did not respond to the letter, and neither Morrison nor her counsel followed up with Langrick regarding a lawsuit after the letter was received, according to Langrick’s counterclaims.
Morrison alleges no attempt to contact Langrick until 2016, according to a public press statement from Morrison made in November 2018. In the statement, she wrote that she was “inspired by other brave survivors who were confronting their assailants” and therefore attempted to make contact with Langrick.
According the counterclaims submitted by Langrick’s counsel, on June 4, 2016, Morrison left a voicemail to Langrick claiming to be a journalist seeking a “press inquiry” for a “story” she was working on. In Morrison’s answer to Langrick’s counterclaims, she “admits that as of June 4, 2016, she was employed by Working Voices, a U.K.-based corporate communications consulting firm.” Langrick did not respond to the voicemail.
On Jan. 2, 2018, Morrison attempted to reach Langrick again. According to Langrick’s counterclaims, she called a representative for global customer support for Langrick’s employer, Bloomberg L.P., but her call was routed to the human resources department, where she stated that Langrick, “attempted to sexually assault [her] in college.” She stated that she reported the incident, but “the police did nothing.” On Jan. 4, 2018, Morrison created an account on the video sharing site Vimeo and created a group titled “rapist,” according to the counterclaims. The only video in the group is one of Langrick giving a presentation in New York City in 2015, on behalf of Bloomberg for Education. The counterclaims also note that on January 19, 2018, Morrison posted a “personal review” on MyLife.com, a site which gives “reputation scores” to people, where she posted anonymously that Langrick “penetrat[ed] and attempt[ed] anal sex with an unconscious woman.”
Langrick’s counsel sent a cease and desist letter to Morrison on Feb. 12, 2018, informing her that further efforts to contact Langrick directly or make accusations about him would result in legal action. He also requested that Morrison sign a nondisclosure agreement and required her to pay Langrick $500,000 in liquidated damages each time she alleged that Langrick had assaulted her. Morrison declined to reach a settlement, citing her right to “truthfully recount the facts of her life,” according documents in her original court filing.
According to Morrison’s initial complaint, Morrison claims that she reached out to Bloomberg L.P. out of “concern for protecting further potential victims on college campuses,” after learning from Langrick’s LinkedIn page that he visited campuses for his work.
According to the counterclaims submitted by Langrick, “This action caused Mr. Langrick great emotional distress, damaged his professional reputation among his colleagues, and caused him great embarrassment and humiliation at his place of employment.”
Shortly thereafter, Morrison and her counsel filed a complaint for declaratory judgment, asking for a declaration that she did not commit meritorious slander, a declaration that the “settlement agreement” proposed by Langrick and his counsel will not be followed, a declaration of Morrison’s First Amendment right to speak her personal story of abuse and “damages well in excess of $75,000, her attorney’s fees and costs, and any other related relief deemed appropriate by the Court.”
Langrick, in his counterclaims, contradicts the factuality of Morrison’s complaint and presenting his own claims against Morrison: slander for the phone call to the Bloomberg Human Resources department, libel for the Vimeo post and libel for the MyLife.com post. He requested that Morrison’s claims be dismissed, that he be awarded damages in excess of $75,000 to be decided at trial, that Morrison be required to delete the Vimeo and MyLife.com posts and that his legal fees be reimbursed.
Morrison’s motion to dismiss Langrick’s counterclaims was dismissed on July 29, 2019. Her counsel submitted an answer to these counterclaims on August 29, 2019. There is no sealing order on the court documents, the contents of which can be accessed by the public.