University Lawyers Respond To $1.2 Million Assault Suit

University lawyers recently responded to a $1.2 million suit brought by a tenant in a Harvard-owned building who claimed she was sexually assaulted due to inadequate security precautions. The response cites a variety of defenses, including the claim that if "the defendant (Harvard) was negligent as alleged, the plaintiff was negligent to a greater degree."

Attorneys for the University also filed a second document with the county courthouse, a letter dated in April offering the plaintiff, Carol Trowbridge, $7200 in medical benefits, lost wages and relocation expenses in return for dropping the suit.

Trowbridge was assaulted last fall. She blamed the incident on a faulty intercom system in her apartment at 122 Mt. Auburn St., which forced her to go into the hallway to see who was buzzing her doorbell. When she opened her door, she was grabbed, Trowbridge said.

In another development, city officials confirmed last night that the proposed University Place development would probably take most of the parking spaces adjacent to the Mt. Auburn St. building.

The project--set to be started next year--will require the widening of University Rd., at the expense of at least 10-12 parking spaces, David Vickery, assistant city manager for community development, said yesterday.

David Rosen, Harvard's community affairs spokesman, said last night that widening of the road was only "under consideration. A final plan has not been settled on."