WKU Dismissed in Autry Estate Civil Suit

A major decision is announced Wedesday, in the lawsuit filed by Katie Autry's family... against Western Kentucky University.

WKU, The Student Life Foundation, and five university employees in their official capacities are no longer defendants in the civil suit.

Katie Autry's Estate filed the lawsuit in September, claiming that the university's lax security procedures and the negligent actions of five of its employees directly led to the brutal rape and murder of the WKU Freshman in her dorm room in May.

Western's Lawyers claim the school is immune from a civil suit because it is part of the government and say any legal action against the school should be taken before the Board of Claims.

That type of case does not call for a jury trial and limits the amount of money that Autry's Estate could recover.
But attorneys for Autry's Estate argue that since no classes are conducted in Hugh Poland Hall (where the murder took place) the school is not entitled to immunity.

Autry's lawyers say they plan to appeal Judge Tom Lewis' decision and remain confident in their case

The aunt of Katie Autry says she is in shock right now, and while she says she knows Western's employees did not actually commit the crime against Katie, she says by failing to comply to the safety measures that were supposed to be in place, WKU's employees allowed it to happen.

In a statement released today, WKU states it regrets the terrible crime against Katie Autry, but is confident that neither its staff nor its policies played a role in that crime.

Once the Estate files its appeal, it could take the Court of Appeals up to a year and a half to make a decision.

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