Regents: Assault Allegations Raise Question about Iowa Policies

IOWA CITY Iowa

The way the University of Iowa has handled allegations of sexual assault by a female student raises questions about whether the universities polices are adequate, according to a letter sent by the president of the Board of Regents to U of I President Sally Mason.

University officials said this week that three members of the Iowa football team had been questioned in connection with the alleged assault of an unnamed woman on Oct. 14 at Hillcrest Residence Hall. Campus police were not notified until more than 20 days had passed.

Regents President Michael Gartner has assigned staff members to obtain details of the university’s. He also wants a timetable of events related to the alleged assault.

“The alleged crime itself is outrageous, if true, and is damaging to the reputation of the University and its athletic department,” Gartner wrote in an e-mail sent to Mason on Friday. “But if the policies are inadequate or the processes weren’t followed, the damage is multiplied.”

The issue is even more potent at the University of Iowa. In 2002, the university’s handling of a sexual abuse complaint against men’s basketball player Pierre Pierce led to a comprehensive review of how officials managed that situation.

Plenty of unanswered questions remain in the alleged assault at Hillcrest. University officials have thus far declined to explain when they became aware of the incident or what procedures they followed.

No charges have been filed, and neither police nor university representatives have identified the players or characterized why they were questioned.

Five search warrants obtained by investigators in the case were also sealed on Friday for 60 days by Johnson County Judge Amanda Potterfield.

Robert Downer, a regent from Iowa City, said Saturday that he also expects university officials to outline and explain their handling of the situation.

“Whether we weigh in will depend on whether board members are satisfied with the report we get,” Downer said.

Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com



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