Two of the William Paterson University students who had sex assault charges against them dismissed last month have filed a claim against the university in court for the damage they say was done to the reputations.
Garrett Collick, of Paterson, Noah Williams, of Camden, and Collick's mother allege in the filing that the university failed to conduct a proper investigation, causing them financial and emotional damage. They are seeking unspecified damages.
A spokeswoman says the university doesn't comment on legal matters.
Michael Epstein, the lawyer for the two men and Nancy Williams, wrote in the filing that the university did not have the proper training and experience to conduct a sexual assault investigation and arrested the men without probable cause. The state has six months to review the filing and Epstein said he will then decide whether to file a lawsuit.
Collick told NBC 4 New York last week, "I didn't commit a crime and I'm not a bad person."
Another attorney for Collick, Laura Sutnick, said, "They were starting college and they want to be educated and they wanted to be successful in life, and all of a sudden their whole life was totally derailed."
"Once somebody accuses you of a crime, how do you recover from that?" she added.
A Passaic County grand jury last week refused to indict Collick, Williams and three other students on charges of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a female student at a dormitory.
The five men were banned from campus following the allegations, but Epstein said it's not clear whether they've been suspended or expelled. They were charged with crimes including conspiracy, criminal restraint and aggravated sexual assault in the encounter that occurred a few days before Thanksgiving on the campus in Wayne.
"Campus and general sexual assaults and rapes are heinous, and my young men and clients are against that," Epstein said. "They're not the type of young men who would ever partake in the abuse of women, and that's how they've been perceived. That's how they've been labeled by the school. That's how a faulty investigation has led them to where they are."