Penn State could learn lessons from EMU's failure to report crime
ABC News draws parallels between the alleged sex abuse scandal at Penn State University and the way Eastern Michigan University handled the investigation into the murder of student Laura Dickinson in 2006.
The story is one of several in national media outlets in recent days about what can happen to a university if it fails to properly report and investigate crimes since allegations arose that former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused children.
Dickinson’s body was discovered in her dorm room in December 2006 nude from the waist down, with evidence of a sexual assault. The report from ABC includes a 2007 video in which Dickinson’s parents and her boyfriend spoke about the university initially telling them there was no foul play involved in Dickinson’s death.
EMU was found to have violated the federal Clery Act in failing to warn EMU students that Dickinson was murdered until they arrested Orange Taylor III for the crime two months later. Taylor was eventually convicted.
The federal government issued a $350,000 fine against the university. Three top administrators, including university President John Fallon and Public Safety Director Cindy Hall, lost their jobs in the ensuing fallout.
The university also signed an agreement with the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights laying out a series of regulations on how EMU must deal with allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment.
(This post was revised to reflect that the video accompanying the ABC report was originally aired four years ago.)