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St. Louis Community College Meramec officials punished after bungled investigation

9:46 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Several officials are no longer employed at St. Louis Community College Meramec as a result of an investigation into an assault that happened on campus in April.

Delancey Smith, director of community relations for STLCC Meramec, says as of Thursday, District Chief of Police Robert Stewart, Meramec Campus Chief of Police Paul Banta, and vice President of Student Affairs Linden Crawford are no longer in their prior positions. Smith will not say if the three were fired or stepped down because he cannot comment on personnel matters.

On April 18, 2013 19-year-old Blythe Grupe was assaulted in a Meramec campus bathroom. Aurora Hill, an instructor at the school, interrupted the assault and held 18-year-old Jevon Mallory until police arrived. Mallory was arrested for the crime and released by police.

LINK: Read the entire report

Five days later, Mallory returned to campus and was arrested a second time. He was originally charged with assault on school property. Charges have since been upgraded to first-degree assault.  He is still in custody at the St. Louis County Jail.

After Grupe's assault was reported, more women came forward to say Mallory had assaulted them, and that not enough was done to stop him.

At the end of April, Chancellor Myrtle E.B. Dorsey, Ph.D. said her administration did not act quickly enough after the assault, and accepted the resignation of George Wasson, president of the Meramec campus.

On Thursday, the St. Louis Community College Board of Trustees released the findings of their investigation into the assault and the way it was handled by the school. They say they are concerned about the facts and timeline regarding the assault and events that followed, Mallory's possible history of problems at the school, Mallory's release by the police shortly after his apprehension, how Mallory returned to campus five days after the assault, the campus' delayed notification of the assault, and what STLCC officials did in response to the assault and their roles in mishandling of the case.

A spokesperson for STLCC says the investigation was conducted by Armstrong Teasdale, LLP, which analyzed thousands of emails, reports, and other documents connected to the assault. Meramec Campus Police Department cell phone and office telephone records were also part of the investigation. Twenty-five witnesses from the district, campus administration, and police and communications functions were interviewed.

The investigation ultimately determined the assault was mishandled by STLCC as a result of "system-wide failures of the campus and district law enforcement, administration and communications, which resulted in an unnecessary threat to the campus from an individual who should have remained in custody rather than being allowed to roam free after the commission of a major felony. A secondary, but equally important cause of the mishandling of the assault was a lack in leadership and management from key personnel at the district and campus levels."

Craig Larson, board chair, accepted the findings of the investigation and instructed the administration to put the recommended changes into action. He says he has contacted Grupe and her family to apologize on behalf of the trustees and the college and to share the findings of the investigation.


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