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Dartmouth #MeToo defamation lawsuit settled

Valley News
Published: 10/5/2021 4:58:34 PM

A Tuck School of Business graduate who was accused by a former Dartmouth College student of sexually assaulting her during a drunken encounter in Hanover in 2005 has received a $175,000 payment to settle a defamation lawsuit he brought against her.

Robert Langrick, now a 45-year-old executive in the finance industry, said on Monday he received the settlement from the insurer for Monica Morrison, who in 2018 called the human resources department of his then-employer, Bloomberg, and conveyed her allegations of sexual assault.

Morrison also referred to Langrick as a “rapist” in internet posts, according to court documents.

Langrick, a suburban Connecticut resident who is married and has two young children, said he pursued the defamation claim to protect his name and reputation and for vindication in a case he thought had been resolved 16 years ago when Hanover police investigated but didn’t bring any assault-related charges.

He said he was “pleased and relieved” that the defamation case, which was brought in U.S. District Court in New York City, was settled with the payout to him.

But Henry Kaufman, Morrison’s attorney, said the settlement from his client’s insurer came over her objections and has led to a “misimpression” that it represents a vindication of Langrick.

“The settlement says it cannot be read as making any ruling of the fundamental issues in the case, of was there consent or was there not consent, to the admitted sexual activity,” Kaufman said.

Lawyers in the case said the settlement terms were not confidential but declined to provide a copy of the document to the Valley News because the judge in the case, Carol Bagley Amon, had not entered it into the public court file.

But the settlement followed a July 1 order by Amon finding that “there is record evidence other than Langrick’s own testimony to corroborate his version of events.”

The case, which was settled last month, was slated to go to trial on Oct. 25.

The lawsuit, which has drawn the attention of British tabloids, where Langrick is originally from, stemmed from the encounter in May 2005 when Morrison, then a 19-year-old sophomore, met Langrick, then 29 and a Tuck student, at a Dartmouth fraternity party.

Both had been drinking, and Morrison asserted that Langrick sexually assaulted her while she was “dead drunk” and unconscious in her bed in her room in Panarchy, a group house on School Street in Hanover belonging to an undergraduate society. Langrick said they had consensual intercourse in the building’s cupola, and also referred to statements other Panarchy residents gave to Hanover police that he said backed up his version of events.

Morrison, who majored in creative writing at Dartmouth and now works as a technical and content writer in New York, has said she was inspired in part by the #MeToo movement. After an attorney for Langrick tried to get her to stop making the assertions about his client, she went to court in 2018 seeking a ruling that would protect her from future defamation claims if she ever spoke publicly about the incident. Langrick countersued, asserting libel and slander stemming from Morrison’s internet posts and calls to his employer.

Amon, the judge, dismissed Morrison’s lawsuit in July 2020, writing that the court does not have “subject jurisdiction” to rule on hypothetical situations. Langrick’s counterclaim remained in play until the settlement last month.

Kaufman said his client’s insurer “made a business judgment” to settle the case.

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