CNU president discusses Jesse Matthew sexual assault allegation

NEWPORT NEWS, VA (WWBT) - The main suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham was accused of sexual assault and left Christopher Newport University within one month.

In an interview with NBC affiliate WAVY, CNU President Paul Trible spoke carefully about the 2003 sexual assault allegation against Matthew. He said the consequences of the incident, if true, would have resulted in certain expulsion.

"If someone is found to have committed an egregious offense, such as sexual abuse, they're gone," Trible said in an interview Thursday. "I can't speak to the disciplinary action we took because I would violate federal law, but I can tell you very soon after that event Mr. Matthew was gone."

A classmate accused Matthew of sexual assault back on Sept. 7, 2003, a time when Trible remembers conduct from members of Matthew's CNU football team, off the field, was unacceptable.

"We expect you to be good citizens on this campus," Trible told the team. "We expect you to respect the people on this campus, both men and women. And, I'm not going to tolerate problems. If problems continue, I'm going to end this team."

Right after Trible addressed the team, Matthew was no longer playing football for CNU, and he then left the school. The 2003 events unfolded 11 months after Matthew left Liberty University, after another alleged sexual assault.

Trible talked about how CNU would have handled a departure under sudden and unfavorable circumstances.

"CNU is one of the only schools that when someone is expelled or suspended, we actually stamp that on their transcript."

Both the CNU and Liberty cases are closed, but a defense attorney now wants the case of murdered teenager Alexis Murphy to be reopened.

The attorney for Murphy's convicted killer, Randy Taylor, has requested new DNA testing to see if Matthew was involved in the teenager's death.

"There were multiple DNA samples found in Alexis Murphy's car, and most of them came back unknown," said defense attorney Michael Hallahan in an interview Thursday.

The Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney signaled that scientific testing will be administered, in order to meet the request from Taylor's defense.

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