Local News

Father Who Filed False UNCW Application For Son Faces Lawsuit

Posted May 17, 2006 10:54 a.m. EDT

— Two years after a college student from Cary was drugged, raped and strangled in a dorm room, her father is suing the school and the killer's father for wrongful death.

Jessica Lee Faulkner and another female student at UNC-Wilmington were killed in 2004 by male students who stalked them. The deaths led North Carolina's public universities to screen some prospective students for criminal pasts and share information among the UNC system's 16 campuses.

John Faulkner's lawsuits allege that fellow freshman Curtis Dixon, 21, was deeply troubled and never should have been admitted to UNCW. He was expelled from the North Carolina School of the Arts after stalking and brandishing a knife in a female student's dorm room, the lawsuit claims. Dixon was cited for disorderly conduct while a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

"There was notice upon notice upon notice that nobody acted on," said Thom Goolsby, one of the attorneys representing Faulkner. "He's in a setting with all these other innocent law-abiding kids and nobody knows what a time bomb they have living among them."

Dixon turned himself in the same day Faulkner was killed after calling Faulkner's father to say what he had done. He committed suicide seven months later while awaiting trial.

James E. Dixon III, an assistant to the chancellor at UNC-Charlotte, submitted an application to UNC-Wilmington for his son that withheld details about his criminal and academic histories and dishonorable discharge from the Navy. James Dixon pleaded guilty in Mecklenburg County District Court to common-law forgery and was fined $1,000.

He could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

Officials for the 16-campus University of North Carolina system and those at UNCW said they were unaware of the lawsuit until they were contacted by reporters Tuesday.

"We have not had an opportunity to see the allegations," said Leslie Winner, UNC system vice president and general counsel. "I and the rest of the UNC community are very sympathetic to the Faulkner family and the tragedy in the death of their daughter."

A UNC system task force produced campus safety recommendations urging more careful scrutiny of applicants. The panel said campuses should conduct criminal checks on a case-by-case basis to weed out potentially dangerous students, but not for all prospective students.