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Woman Who Sued Citadel Settles Case

May 12, 1998

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ A former female cadet at The Citadel who sued over alleged sexual harassment and physical abuse has settled her case for $33,750.

The state-supported military college was not named as a defendant, but it paid Kim Messer $15,000 as part of the settlement to stave off a separate lawsuit.

Messer and Jeanie Mentavlos, two of the first four women to enter the corps of cadets in 1996, left after one semester _ claiming they were hazed and harassed. Among other things, they said cadets kicked them, punched them and set their clothes on fire.

Messer accused six male cadets of negligence and mistreatment. One settled separately for an undisclosed amount; the insurance companies of the other five contributed to the settlement.

Sandy Senn, an attorney for two of the male cadets, said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing.

``It doesn’t take a mathematician to recognize that attorneys’ fees alone would far exceed the individual contributions,″ she said Monday.

Mentavlos’ federal civil-rights suit against the school and the same six cadets is pending.

``The settlement with the Messer family closes a chapter in the history of The Citadel,″ the school said in a statement. ``The Citadel does not tolerate or condone the behavior that is alleged to have occurred in this case.″

One cadet was dismissed, two left the school, and nine others were disciplined. None were prosecuted.

Two female cadets who entered The Citadel with Messer and Mentavlos finished their sophomore year this week as 19 women completed their freshman year.

The Citadel dropped its all-male admissions policy after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the single-gender policy at the Virginia Military Institute.

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