Eli faces suit for assault

Although she no longer faces criminal charges, Kyli Hanson ’09 is now facing a civil suit for assaulting a Yale Police Department officer.

On May 1, 2007, Hanson was arrested for striking a YPD detective at the annual Spring Fling concert. Now, with the two year statute of limitations on filing a civil suit approaching, the detective — Susan Dercole — has filed a civil lawsuit against Hanson. Following an atypically protracted effort to serve Hanson her summons, Dercole’s attorney resorted to an unorthodox option: acquiring a court order to purchase legal notices to appear in the News and the New Haven Register.

According to the suit, Hanson “willfully and maliciously assaulted” Dercole. As a result of her injuries, the suit says, Dercole had two operations and continues to suffer “great pain” and “mental anguish.”

Deputy University Secretary Martha Highsmith said Wednesday that Dercole still has not been able to resume her duties as a police officer as a result of her injuries. The University has already paid Dercole over $100,000 in indemnity and medical expenses, the suit says. Dercole did not reply to a phone message left at her office.

The New Haven Register reported in June 2007 that the criminal charges were dismissed after Hanson completed 10 hours of community service and wrote a letter of apology. Although Hanson’s attorney, William Dow III ’63, vehemently refuted the claim in an interview Wednesday, Yale’s police union asserted at the time that Hanson got special treatment because she was a Yale student.

“We dare say that the outcome of this case would have been different had the defendant been a poor, inner-city resident, rather than a rich, privileged Yale student who just happens to be the star athlete on the Yale softball team,” union President Carlos Perez said in a letter to the Register at the time.

But even though the criminal case was dismissed, Hanson’s legal troubles are not over.

When State Marshal Peter Criscuolo tried to serve Hanson with papers at her Silliman College room on Feb. 5, he was told by an attorney for the University that he was not allowed on campus, Criscuolo said in an interview Wednesday.

“My marshal was told if he entered he would be arrested for trespassing,” Patricia Confrancesco, Dercole’s attorney, said in a phone interview.

To avoid trespassing, the marshal decided not to enter the college without a Yale Police Department escort, Confrancesco said, something the University would not provide.

But Associate General Counsel Harold Rose said in an e-mail message that the marshal could enter Silliman, or any other college, “on the same terms as any other person who does not live or work there.” When asked to clarify those terms, Rose said state marshals enter Yale property “all the time.”

Rose said the University tried to arrange a meeting with Hanson in her dean’s office. Hanson did not reply to the meeting requests, Rose said.

But in an e-mail message Wednesday, Hanson denied that she refused to meet at her dean’s office.

Ultimately, the marshal left Hanson’s summons with the University. But the summons have yet to make their way to Hanson. Rose said the University only accepts summons to which it is party; it is the plaintiff’s responsibility — not the University’s — to serve students.

Traditionally, if the summons cannot be served to the defendant directly, it can be served through her attorney.

According to court documents submitted by Confrancesco, however, Hanson instructed her attorney not to accept service on her behalf. Dow denied this.

“We never had an opportunity to consult with her about the civil lawsuit,” Dow said, “so whether we should or should not accept civil service never came up.”

Confrancesco said these problems serving a defendant are “highly unusual.” As a result, Confrancesco said she had to get a court order to run a legal notice directed at Hanson in the News and the New Haven Register at her client’s expense.

Rose said the University will not take sides on the lawsuit, which simultaneously involves a Yale employee and an enrolled student. If Hanson does not reply to the summons, a default judgment ruling in favor of Dercole would be entered, Confrancesco said.

Paul Needham contributed reporting.


  • roro

    well, Mr. Perez has the right attitude. Very benevolent. Or is there a Policeman's Malevolent Society?

  • Yale alum '07

    Does Hanson have no remorse? At least this will be on the internet forever, and future employers and associates can find this article and judge her accordingly.

  • Arthur

    Couldn't the video editor figure a way of having sound come from both channels?

  • Recent Alum

    What is wrong with kids these days.

  • BT

    In what way did the student strike the officer? It seems odd that a student would hit a Yale Police person maliciously; it also seems strange that the extent of the injuries seems to be so extensive. How hard did the hit have to be IF two operations were ACTUALLY necessary? Unless the "strike" was actually a series of hits to sensitive areas, I see no reason why the damage was so great. If the student did indeed go off and repeatedly strike (or strike with great force) the police person, then she needs to be held accountable for what she truly did. And if the police person was hit once and is fragile enough to still be off the force, then that person should not be a police officer. (Something just doesn't sit right about this whole situation- either the incident is unclear or one of the parties is taking advantage of the system.)

  • Anonymous

    There really aren't enough details here. What if this is the case of a money-hungry cop trying to cash in on this poor girl's mistake. It seems like her name has already been dragged through the mud…just give her a break.

  • Y09

    "Mental anguish"? Sounds like the argument of an ambulance-chasing greedy attorney to me.

  • stfu

    you all need to back off right now. this coverage does not explain the entire story, so don't pass any judgments on anyone.

  • Anonymous

    Good to know our varsity girls can take down New Haven's Finest.

  • WorkerBee

    Chiquita needs to man up and face this like an adult.

  • silli78

    This is a perfect example of why Yale maintains the only private police force in the state. Thier one and only function is keeping Yale students out of the hands of the New Haven police, and thier names out any annoying legal documents. Yale student involved in a crime and being sued? Just ignore it, you're a Yale student by god! It's not like she assaulted a real person, just another of the unwashed masses.

  • Y09 #2

    Spring Fling…chances are alcohol was involved. Not that drunkenness is a legal defense, but it seems doubtful that this was a purposeful, "malicious" attack.

    Also, she was definitely not the star athlete of the softball team…she's not even on the roster anymore.

  • J.D'er

    Lawyers are supposed to represent their clients zealously. Enough of the lawyer bashing already. If this woman had not put her hands on someone, there would be no cause for a lawsuit. She should be happy that all she's facing is a civil suit. How much does she have in assets anyway? There's a valuable lesson to be learned here. Keep your hands to yourself.

  • Anonymous

    I saw the incident take place. The girl was clearly trashed out of her mind, but I saw nothing that even could be perceived as assault. Did she resist arrest? Yes, but it wasn't assault--how could it have been? There were three or four cops on her within seconds. It was a question of her refusing to obey orders.

    I've seen incidents outside of Toads and bars on crown street that were more violent than what took place.

  • Goldie '08

    I agree with BT and the other commenters. Something is fishy here, but if Hanson really did cause serious damage, I guess she should be held accountable. Its strange the officer hasn't gone back to work in 2 years.

  • Anonymous

    Hahaha BURGERLOVER. I guess Yalies aren't allowed to do anything but study.

    As 4 the pizza, Modern is the best so this clip is pointless. The YDN did a blind tasting, and the reports confirmed Modern is superior.

    Sally's/Pepe's are good, but not better than modern and not that much better than BAR.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like the bratty, privileged "star" athlete should be held accountable for what she did. In the real world, there's no one to hold your hand.

  • To #11

    You're right alcohol is not a legal defense. It's not a moral defense either. People can and do commit horrible malicious acts while they're drunk. It's not an excuse. If you're so out of control when you get drunk that you go around attacking people then you should be a mature adult and not get drunk.

  • pro cop

    What are we telling the yale students and community, assult a yale officer which is a felony and all you will get is 10hrs of community service and write a letter. These are the people who serve and protect us and this is how we treat them.

  • Anonymous

    Yale has expelled their students for far less like plagiarism, but yet she still gets to graduate with a Yale degree. Harvard would never put up with this.

  • Y08

    I'm offended that this article was ever even allowed to go to press without all the facts. The cop is overreacting and is definitely abusing the system. YDN, why do you feel like you have the right to slander her without knowing the story? Leave the gossip to the Rumpus.

  • Anonymous

    So at first I really, really want to yell at all of those ignorant alumns for making those ignorant comments. But I realize that it's not your fault that you're ignorant, it's the YDN's for publishing such a one-sided story, an attack even, about one of their classmates. Really, YDN? How much did this lawyer pay you to publish this story? How are you going to publish this without getting both sides? Clearly, the facts here are HIGHLY embellished. Get a clue.

    It makes me laugh to read the column that read "Injuries Sustained by Susan Dercole." Kyli hit the cop by accident. There's no way these injuries could have happened. So all of you people reading this article, please realize that this information is very skewed.

    And don't even dare call Kyli a privileged, rich, well-off student. You do not know her at all, so don't assume that all Yale students are like that. You're ignorant.

    Last, do not dare pass judgment on Kyli based on this article. You do not know her. We all have our bad moments. She is no doubt one of the BEST people I know, and all of her very many friends would agree with me on that.

    So people commenting, relax with the judgmental comments. And YDN, you're a savage.

  • Anonymous

    Dear #18, don't give me that Harvard (insert derogatory term for "poop" here). If you like Harvard so much, do us all a favor and don't read the Yale Daily News and post your unneeded, uninformed comments. Get a life.

  • 1990s Alum

    I'm not at all shocked that this happened at Spring Fling. When I was a student, the behavior I saw there was horrendously bad. So bad, I would have cancelled Spring Fling permanently if I were the Yale administration. The students I went to high school with were significantly more mature and well-behaved than Yale College students. I hope there's some serious discipline by the Executive Committee at least.

  • Anonymous

    GEEZ, $100,000 of unneeded money, and she wants more? Man, she's really milking this one, huh? What next, cancer? When you eventually get Alzheimer's, are ya gonna come back and blame Kyli for that?
    When, she hit you, did she somehow knock you off of a cliff, causing all of these injuries?

  • t.chu

    This article is classless and absolutely uncalled for. I see no reason for this to show up in a school newspaper. That is just ridiculous. Is the YDN going to start reporting every crime that goes on at Yale? If so, where does it stop. I know students that have received tickets for riding a bike down the sidewalk. Although I am not trying to compare the two crimes, there wasn't even a mention of it in the newspaper, much less a front page article and a 2-week long ad.

    I am not trying to defend the actions of those involved. I can't because I was not there. However, I do know that the officer has in fact returned to work. It is awfully suspicious that as the window closes for her to press charges, she does just that. So I suggest the YDN does some fact-finding before they actually go ahead and print stories like this. Congratulations to them for really damaging the reputation of a young girl without even thinking twice about it.

    It is inexcusable for the YDN to allow its writers to attack a classmate like this without thinking about the ramifications for the other party. And then people wonder why there is such a divide between athletes and the general student body at this university. Do you think this article would have run if the student involved was a writer for the YDN? Would Harrison Korn write this article about himself? I doubt it. It would be nice if the writers of the YDN would stop trying to stir up controversy like real newspapers. They are a school publication and should stick to publishing articles about new additions in the cafeterias and other stories of similar nature. Is there a purpose in publicly embarrassing a student at this school?

  • Joe A '07

    Sounds like something that has happened on the New Haven Police force
    In their zeal to subdue the subject one or more officers fist or elbow, if a flashlight was present than so be the culprit - Struck their fellow Officer in the ole noodle.
    ..sitting in row 7 and getting a face full of hockey puck in the whale..

  • strange

    I'm inclined to believe #13, who says this was just a drunk student resisting arrest. If the cop was seriously harmed, that is very wrong, and there should certainly be serious consequences.

    However, I don't trust Att. Confrancesco … she represented Dustin Gold and Chris Powell in the FOIA cases against New Haven, and strikes me as willing to take on any case, no matter how sleazy and misguided …

  • yaylie

    I don't believe that a girl at Spring Fling could have caused injuries to a cop serious enough to warrant an operation let alone two unless she was trained in martial arts. While she probably should've done a few days in jail with no permanent record afterwards if she did strike the officer, the civil case looks like a shakedown to me, and a weird one at that. Most students have no assets to start with and could declare bankruptcy faced with such a matter and move on. Which suggests this girl has a trust fund or something worth going after. Which begs the question of how much extraordinary help from the university she got both with the criminal matter and with making service difficult after a phone call from daddy discussing donations. Anybody know anything about her finances?

  • Y09

    Clearly just another charming townie trying to panhandle some change out of the pockets of the Yale community. This lawyer must surely realize that his public relations blitz is about to backfire in a major way.

  • Y'09

    For your information, she is not a trust fund baby, nor does she have daddy's money bailing her out. She comes from a Blue Collar background and is on financial aid at Yale. And to question if she even feels any remorse is quite ignorant and very judgmental. If the YDN bothered to find out the facts, they would know the real situation. Whose dean tells them not to accept papers? No ones. I find it very interesting and highly unlikely that when the marshal needed a YPD escort to enter Silliman to serve her with her lawsuit, that the YPD wouldn't volunteer someone to help out one of their own. A YPD officer not helping a fellow YPD officer??? Sounds like one of the YDN writers throwing one of their fellow yalies and peers under the bus.

  • #13

    What no one has commented on is that the girl isn't facing any criminal charges.

    If the city attorney, or whoever is responsible for prosecuting accused offenders, found that 10 hours of community service and a letter of apology was sufficient penance, then the case is clearly not as bad as the officer claims. As for "mental anguish," the woman was a former YPD officer--if she didn't expect to be dealing with drunk students, then she was clearly not thinking straight before she took the job.

    I'm not trying to excuse her for disobeying orders or potentially resisting arrest, but what took place was definitely not assault. If anything, from my vantage point, it appeared that the police were more aggressive with her than she was with them.

    Oh, and I am not one of her friends, either. I have never met the girl in my life, and have no reason to defend her.

  • #80

    You can't fake a surgery, you either need it or you don't. Bottom line is she never should have put her hands on the police officer.

    What would have happened if the officer assaulted the student?? Do you think that person would seek restitution, you better believe so? Bottom line you should never hit anyone, especially a Police officer.

  • Chris 09

    I could tell you one thing, if I was assaulted by one of my fellow students and needed surgery you better believe I would go after him/her. We are not talking about an accident, Hanson was drunk and assaulted this person and she should pay for it.

  • Anonymous

    I have worked at a University in CT for 10 yrs and I'm shocked that the Yale Admin took no action against this person. I would think any other University would have suspended or even expelled their student for a crime like this, even if it occurred off campus and in another town or State.

  • Prof P

    The bottom line is the YDN should look into this case a little further.
    Interview hanson, the det. crisculo, confrancesco, rose and dow to see what they have to say.
    See how many times hanson had to go to court before her case was settled.
    What steps if any did the state marshal peter criscuolo and the confrancesco take to serve the papers?
    Was the officer given the same rights as other victims in court?
    Was dow given the time to contact hanson.

  • Not in the Ivy Leauge

    Where else on the planet can I go and assault a Police Oficer and get 10 hours of community service? What do you get for murder? 50 hours?

  • Disappointed

    YDN, why is this story so one-sided? Is biased journalism now the norm?

  • OldBlue73

    Look at how many knee-jerk reactions there are based on know-nothing assumptions people have about 1) a Yale student simply because of her status as a Yale student 2) a police officer alleging injury. Only one person, #13, says he saw the incident and says it was not an assault. Yet those critical of her assume nevertheless it was.

    All YDN writers and editors should be required to read, Until Proven Innocent, the account of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Hoax to get a sense of what prejudice there is in the world against elite university athletes and how they can be damaged by poor press reports. Without some reporting on the facts of what occurred this article was irresponsible.

  • Anonymous

    Bravo YDN for more senseless gossip that defames a fellow member of the community. I recall when you printed similar drivel concerning an Arabic instructor who was pursuing an undisclosed case of sexual harassment caused by another instructor. It was all based on conjecture and no hard facts. What's next, daily reports from the NH police log?

  • u687686

    she needed surgery? Either Kyli knows how to put the smack down or we have some serious ambulance-chasing going on

  • xyz

    #37. Writing a letter of apology shows she was wrong and sorry for what she did.

    #13 it only takes a second to assault someone maybe you only seen the ending.

  • justice for all

    Forget Hanson and the officer, the bottom line is the prosecutor Brian Leslie made the deal and violated the officer’s rights as a victim of a crime. What would Leslie do if someone assaulted him??? You know they wouldn't get 10 hrs of community service.
    The community should be upset with Leslie. What Leslie did was misuse of the judicial system.

  • Anonymous

    I had never heard of this before I read this article. I didn't see it, and I know nothing about it. But I do know that when I read that Kyli (whom I know but am not close with) had assaulted a police officer, I believed it and wasn't surprised. So maybe the police officer is milking the opportunity, but that doesn't make Kyli an innocent little victim. She's a strong girl. If she was resisting arrest, it wouldn't surprise me at all if some damage was done.

  • Pierson 69

    Quite a lot of interesting opinions here, but I must ask:
    Did Miz Hanson herself write No. 20?

  • yaylie

    I don't know if she punched with brass knuckles that magically disappeared or tried to gouge the cop's eyes out or if the cop knows a crooked doctor or two but if she's a financial aid student, she's gotta be judgment-proof especially with no criminal conviction to demonstrate willfulness/malice. She shouldn't even need a lawyer - go at it pro bono if you've got nothing to lose. Bankruptcy is looking like a better and better option by the day - it's not like you'll be able to get a mortgage in the next few years anyway as a starting professional - bkrupcy or not.

  • yaylie

    * pro se

  • Anonymous

    This incident gives Yalies a bad rep. And you wonder why town-gown relations are bad. Thanks a lot, Kyli. 10 hours of community service??? Yale should make her take a year off and tutor in the public schools…

  • Alum

    Are there any details of the assault or injuries sustained. The article mentioned surgery was necessary. Ff this indeed true, what type of surgery was required?

    These all seems very far-fetched. Very unprofessional article. More details please!

  • Obviously

    This girl is obviously being treated a cut above how any regular person who would assault a police officer would be treated.

    People who say that we're jumping to conclusions just because she's a Yale student are ignorant of the obvious bias towards Yale students. There are so many students that I see having done illegal activities and with outrageous behavior which should be matched with equal legal justice.

    I agree that this article is missing important facts about the actual event, but let's say it how it is -- even if she didn't cause serious damage to the officer, her behavior shows that she's not exactly a mature adult worthy of a Yale degree.

  • Bankruptcy

    #44 Filing bankruptcy will follow her forever. Job applications ask have you ever filed bankruptcy before, I would not want that following me.
    If she caused this injury, she should take some responsibility for it, 10 hrs of community service and a letter is not taking responsibility and shows no remorse.

  • Anonymous

    I would like to comment on #46. Yes I agree that Yale should have taken some kind of action against this student. Although I understand the softball team took a vote and voted her off the team. This sends a clear message to all her teammates that they will not tolerate this type of incident. Yale admin could learn a thing from them.

  • wtf

    I know Kyli and while I do not defend her actions, I think this is out of line. Regardless of the situation, the YDN should of not written on article on the topic. It is shocking that the writers would come a fellow classmate like this. Yalies need some more class on all levels.

  • David R.

    This Atty was terminated in the most shameless,disgusting fashion from the City of N ew Haven , only her relations to the judge kept her out of prison
    Goes to show just what type of folks you are dealing with in East Haven ,as the corrupt chicken goes home to roost

  • y09

    This is why Yale Students should never support the Yale unions. They do not like us - we should not like them. If this suit goes through, Yale students should not recognize the legitimacy of the YPD…what ungrateful trash.

    also, post #51 - terrible writing/punctuation/usage…athlete much?

  • gina f

    this kyli girl needs to come out of hiding and face the consequences she rightly deserves…just because she is a Yale student, does she think she is above the law???? as we all know, YALE stands for You Are Losers Eternal!! if this was a somebody else who didn't go to Yale, i am sure the outcome would have been different…i admire this officer for taking this to a higher level!! In the end, it is a much higher power who will dish out the punishment!! Good Luck Yale Officer!!

  • chloe09

    #53- The "ungrateful trash" of the YPD is the only thing that stands between you and the tender mercies of the NHPD. With opinions like this, you puzzle over why townies and employees despise the majority of Yale students? The Yale police do a fine job of coddling us. They keep us out of the hands of the justice system the lesser humans have to face in New Haven. Arrested? Not with YPD to cover oour tracks and clean up behind us. You are the new poster child for "Eli Elitist Wanker" of 2009. None of us were there, let's allow the legal system to pass judgement.