University of Michigan regent calls six-month lapse in reporting child porn 'extraordinarily disappointing'
"It can never happen again." That's the assessment of University of Michigan Regent Katherine White on the university's six-month lag in reporting child pornography found on a thumb drive in a hospital computer.
Police charged Stephen Jenson, 36, a medical resident at the U-M Heath System, with possessing child pornography on Dec. 17. He is accused of viewing child porn at a U-M hospital on a U-M computer.
Officials were first notified that a female medical resident found a thumb drive containing child porn and documents with Jenson's name in May, recently released court documents show. The woman's supervisor notified hospital security about the discovery, but hospital lawyers took ownership of the case and decided not to pursue it or report it to police.
The case resurfaced on Nov. 18 when a hospital security official brought it to the U-M Department of Public Safety's attention. U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and her administrators notified the Board of Regents shortly afterward.
The university is conducting an internal review to determine how existing procedures failed and what new guidelines would be beneficial in future cases.
"They’re working to correct the communication lines between the Department of Public Safety and the health security people and to make sure that the health general counsel's office does a better job in the future," White said, adding that employees still need to act when proper procedures aren't in place.
"We can write a lot of processes ... but if you don’t have people who are going to implement best practices, it’s not enough. You have to have people who are out there trying to do the right thing," she continued.
2012 Board of Regents candidate Mark Bernstein said that the university needs to go a step further and order an external review conducted by a private company to free itself from bias.
"This Jenson case is troubling," Bernstein offered, calling it "a very serious breech of the public trust."
"He had, allegedly, child pornographic images on a U-M computer and they do not report it to the ... police. That is shocking,” said Bernstein, a lawyer. “It is shockingly bad judgment and one can only assume that there was an interest in protecting the institution ahead of other interests.”
U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said thus far no external review has been ordered.
Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.
Thu, Feb 2, 2012 : 2:26 a.m.
Human Nature and Human Behavior: I am still not ready to outright condemn Stephen Jenson and feed him to the wolves. It is my understanding that man is of spiritual nature and man has no choice over his spiritual nature. We need to make a distinction between behavior and nature. For muscles to contract, the muscle cells have the nature called contractile power and the muscle contracts when it receives a stimulus. There is an external influence that initiates the contraction. On the campus, unfortunately a lot of people use computers to view pornography and it has an addictive power of its own. There is no evidence in this story to tell us that Jenson has actually abused a minor child. I am doubtful if he has truly contemplated about molesting any child. So, I will give him the benefit of doubt. I will not ruin his medical career if he has innocently viewed images for some sensory gratification. It is perverse but man's spiritual nature has the potential to uplift man from the depths of perverse behavior. If man is not spiritual, man has no salvation. Man has to uplift himself if he wants to meet his Saviour. I will not fire any person because of this story. I will suggest that the University and Hospital can easily install security cameras where people use computers in lounges and other secluded places on University property. We have to fight the problems of technology with other instruments of technology. The fact that a security camera is watching the person using the computer will stop this kind of foolish activities. The fear of discovery will have a great deterrent effect on the users of computers and their privacy will not be violated unless they make a mistake and get caught. <a href="http://bhavanajagat.com/2012/01/31/spiritualism-human-nature-and-human-behavior/" rel='nofollow'>http://bhavanajagat.com/2012/01/31/spiritualism-human-nature-and-human-behavior/</a>
Sat, Feb 4, 2012 : 4 p.m.
So you are saying that it is okay for a Physician, or any UM employee, to view child porn at home, just don't bring it with you to the Hospital?
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:06 p.m.
"The university is conducting an internal review to determine how existing procedures failed and what new guidelines would be beneficial in future cases." Good luck with that. As other posters have stated, the UM and UM medical system only care about image and PR. They will sweep anything under the rug to avoid bad press. This debacle has no excuse. Their "review" will take months and months and turn up nothing new, only a lot of fingerpointing, and blame for the "process" not people, which is a total joke. The process is the people who execute it!
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7 p.m.
"He had, allegedly, child pornographic images on a U-M computer and they do not report it to the ... police. That is shocking," said Bernstein, a lawyer. "It is shockingly bad judgment and one can only assume that there was an interest in protecting the institution ahead of other interests." Good for Bernstein. All hospital lawyers involved in this cover up need to be fired.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 11:38 a.m.
It's totally disgusting.
Left is Right
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:39 a.m.
Gosh, it does seem disappointing.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.
Gee Whillikers, no kiddin'
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.
In the real world, someone in a position of authority would have called the police within hours of the discovery. The external review should be conducted by the Michigan State Police, and they can determine who failed to follow the law.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:50 a.m.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.
----U-M President Mary Sue Coleman and her administrators notified the Board of Regents shortly afterward------ This is almost the same way Penn State responded in a similar situation. Why not call the police? Penn State also did not call the police when first notified about similar crimes against children, same as U of M. One has to wonder if U of M would have told police about medical resident S. Jenson if these other high profile cases weren't brought to light and the public outrage about Penns mishandling and apparent cover up never happened . That being said, thousands of children are abused each and every year in America. Scandel after scandel seems to have not changed the way organizations handel these extremely sad occurrences. Here in America the laws and punishment of individuals who harm children are not strict enough. Most states have now put Jessicas law (some states still have not instituted this law) on the books resulting in mandatory minimum sentences. Some would argue the punishment is still not strict enough. Some argued against Jessicas Law. Who would do that? Some fought against it for various reasons. Some fought against the law because it takes away the civil rights of criminals and sex offenders. Who is for the civil rights of criminals and to many seemingly against the rights of victims? This would seem backwards to some. Some would say the perverse sexualization of children results in fostering and/or perpetuating devious behavior towards children. This will not go away any time soon when you have intellectual elites covering up for the sex predators. Oddly enough the same people who fight against the rights of innocent children are the same who said "hospital lawyers took ownership of the case and decided not to pursue it or report it to police."
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.
EVERYONE of authority who knew and did nothing - time to go. They can use the time to reflect on how their values and morals were so easily overridden by themselves and just what personal failings permitted their enormous lapse in judgment. There are no excuses or ways around this.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:09 p.m.
Does it make any difference that 7 of 8 of the Regents are lawyers? Can lawyers police themselves? Will they put the blame on lawyers in the General Counsel's Office or will they rationalize their actions?
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.
The Regents are mushrooms as far as President Coleman is concerned. The less they know the better.
say it plain
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:41 p.m.
Lawyers *protecting* mal-practicing doctors, ew, ew, and double ew! They'll put the blame on the lawyers in the General Counsel's Office, of course, because nobody from that office (presumably) asked the Regents-member lawyers whether they'd prefer them to consider the case 'closed', right?!
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:40 p.m.
Lets get some heads rolling. Start at the top and work your way down to the bottom.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 11:23 p.m.
Is this Derrick Jackson?
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:35 p.m.
If you understand that the only thing the University cares about is protecting its public image, then you will understand why they did not pursue this properly. That it backfired on them does not matter, because everything they are doing now is still to protect their image.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 7:02 p.m.
Great comment! Totally accurate.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.
Sadly, having worked there, I can vouch for the "image" goal. Basically, they feel the need to compete with other Medical Systems for customers. Yes, patients are customers in their eyes. It's a corporation like any other in reality.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:16 p.m.
The Leaders and Best? Someone needs their head handed to them on a platter. This is worse than Penn State. I am morally outraged that this has been kept quiet while all the other stuff was going on in College Park. Are we better or best?????
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:15 p.m.
How high did this information go in the University, and when? Where is our info graphic timeline? And.. What sort of protections exist for whistleblowers at the University?
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.
There is a whistleblower protection law in Michigan, however the statute of limitation is only 45 days so a whistleblower has to get a lawyer right away. It is hard to find a lawyer in Ann Arbor who wants to fight the University. It is the General Counsel's Office that is in charge of discrediting whistleblowers. The former UM General Counsel, Elsa Cole (now at the NCAA) gave a lecture at a national meeting of university general counsels about how we handle whistleblowers the UM. One of the main uses of the trespass warnings was to bar whistleblowers from campus and discredit them as "dangerous".
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.
To further the point of "jcj" from the article it was UM's hospital lawyers that made the decision not to inform the police. I wonder, is this the same Mark Bernstein from the TV commercials of the family of lawyers? Can't remember all of their names. Anyhoot, lets hope that low level employees are spared any retributions and that the university fully review the actions of the hospital lawyers. To many times the higher ups are spared while those in the lower positions are fired.
say it plain
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:43 p.m.
Lol, so now we have in line for possibly protecting patients against hospital self-protection (by getting a spot on the Regents and trying to change 'procedures' that could allow such stuff to happen!) the son of a self-proclaimed and probably *much* detested among physicians advocate for people against mal-practice in healthcare. I'd love to see him get in there just now, that would be fun and maybe even useful!
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.
It is the same Mark Bernstein. He is an Ann Arbor resident whose dad is "Call Sam" Bernstein.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:57 p.m.
The same fear that existed at Penn State exists at UM. How sad.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.
The Board of Regents, if worth their salt, need to hire outside investigators to avoid the possibility of conflicts of interest since it seems the Office of President, Office of General Counsel, U-M security officers, and officials of the University of Michigan Health System may bear some degree of fault in the delay. Mr. Bernstein has hit the nail on the proverbial head - vested interests wanted to keep the Jenson matter buried because they knew the furor that would be caused and, in doing so, compounded the problem. There is no doubt the public should demand full accountability in this matter for the undue delay and appropriate disciplinary action taken against those in supervisory positions who failed to ensure the matter was referred for initial investigation to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. A single resident physician allegedly having stored child pornography is serious enough - but the more shocking development is that many in the chain of power at the University sought to cover this up while that resident continued to practice pediatrics and pose a potential danger to others. We don't know at this point how widespread the damage could be or who all may have been involved in the delay - that alone is scary enough. God help the children who may have been victimized by such alleged pornography.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.
"A single resident physician allegedly having stored child pornography is serious enough - but the more shocking development is that many in the chain of power at the University sought to cover this up while that resident continued to practice pediatrics and pose a potential danger to others." this is the most shocking to me. why on earth did they not suspend him until the investigation was complete? as a parent of kids that are treated at UMHS this infuriates me.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:35 p.m.
I don't think Kathy White really gets what the problem is. She should be asking what is wrong with the culture at the hospital and in the University that makes people even question that the right thing to do is report it to law enforcement? Why did the resident who found the pictures go home and toss and turn all night before she realized that the right thing was to report what she found? The hesitation indicates that she was afraid getting in trouble. Why? Residents report through a chain of command that goes through their department Chairman. In Pediatrics that would be Dr. Valerie Castle. Dr. Castle was the one involved in the mishandling of the Andrei Borisov case, which cost the University $550,000 and a lot of bad press. Who in the Pediatrics Department knew about the allegations against Dr. Jensen? The hospital security chain of command goes up through the General Counsel's Office but also the Office of Clinical Affairs and Dr. Skip Campbell have to decide when a doctor may have their hospital privileges revoked. Even if they took no criminal action against Jensen, that office would certainly have to determine if he posed a danger to patients, which he obviously did. Who in the Office of Clinical Affairs knew about these allegations? Why did they decide not to suspend his privileges? It sounds like there was a lot of fear of being the person in charge of this issue and so everyone who had an obligation to protect the patients did nothing because they were paralyzed. You don't fix that by changing some policies. Kathy White and the rest of the Regents need to understand that this is the canary in the coal mine and they cannot stop by treating the symptoms.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 1:24 p.m.
trespass hit the nail on the head! change the culture, fix a lot of the problems. a lot of stuff goes unreported due to fear.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:46 p.m.
Interesting that you would bring up Dr. Castle. She was someone I was thinking of in a previous comment.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.
Dear Katherine, It is so good to hear your outrage! The "solutions" I have heard thus far from the University continue to be very self protective and defensive. The process under the State of Michigan is quite clear: that every professional has an obligation not to report to a superior, not to report to the Police, but to report to CPS the State mandated entity which is charged with responding to suspected child abuse and neglect. And, to report within a short time period. I think the point that these children were annonymous is quite beside the point. They were unequivocably exploited! Furthermore, the likelihood is high that the delay may have permitted a predator access to children and therefore exploitation at UMHS. I set up a system for reporting and licensure accountability at a County Hospital in Texas when I realized via the medical reports that they too were sweeping abuse under the rug. The family practice residents and local Prosecutor's office were very supportive of my intervention and inservice education. We live in a society lacking self discipline. Predators are out there and responsible caring institutions must be active in protecting vulnerable children. Linda Bowman LMSW/ACSW
say it plain
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 10:01 p.m.
That's a good point @Linda Peck! And Ms. Woodhouse...is that a semantic error in the use of the term "masochistic" about the image we know about so far in this case?! Wasn't it a child lying bound to a bed frame with an adult lying on top of her (or him, I don't know if that was revealed)?! For whom is that "masochistic"--the child?! Purely sadistic, and allegedly on the image-viewing agenda of someone training to be a pediatrician?! And the Health System lawyers decided to just let that slide?! Much much more than 'extraordinarily disappointing', it can be argued.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.
It is not only possible that more children were violently abused and horribly hurt, but it is indeed possible that Dr. Jensen, whose fantasies centered around sadism, could have harmed his own patients while treating them in his job as pediatric resident with some type of sadistic pleasure. Just think on that a moment and consider the outcome of this delay in reporting. It is more than just "disappointing."
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.
"but hospital lawyers took ownership of the case and decided not to pursue it or report it to police...." I, as a apart owner of the University, suggest that these lawyers be dismissed and replaced with lawyers who hopefully can exercise better judgement.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.
Exactly. That would be the Vice President and General Counsel.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:41 p.m.
They should be fired at the very least, if not prosecuted for criminal negligence.
say it plain
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.
I think the *only* thing the UM can do and maintain any credibility is to order an outside investigation. The *only* thing. And to stop resisting all outside attempts to get at what may have happened here.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:02 p.m.
First let me say I agree with the following 2012 Board of Regents candidate Mark Bernstein said that the university needs to go a step further and order an external review conducted by a private company to free itself from bias. "This Jenson case is troubling," Bernstein offered. "He had, allegedly, child pornographic images on a U-M computer and they do not report it to the ... police. That is shocking," said Bernstein, an Ann Arbor lawyer. "It is shockingly bad judgment and one can only assume that there was an interest in protecting the institution ahead of other interests." Now let me say I hope Mr Bernstein will feel the same if he is elected. It is not uncommon for any candidate to criticize those he hopes to replace, then fall into the same traps if they are elected!
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:01 p.m.
Ms. White called this "extraordinarily disappointing." This is an understatement if I ever heard one. "We can write a lot of processes ... but if you don't have people who are going to implement best practices, it's not enough. You have to have people who are out there trying to do the right thing," she continued. She is right there and obviously some people need to be replaced with people who can and will do the right thing. Mr. Bernstein seems to be on the right track on this one. I hope his statement does not jeopardize his chances as a Board Of Regents candidate.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:54 p.m.
I'm not disappointed. I am just plain shocked.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 9:09 p.m.
I'm not, and I work there.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.
Thank you Mr. Bernstein for putting it out there:" there was an interest in protecting the institution ahead of other interests." That is exactly what happened. Fire them all. Anyone who knew and chose not to report to the police should be fired.
Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.
Exactly. Everyone, including the woman who first found the images. Everyone who knew and did nothing should be gone. Now.
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 8:51 p.m.
So, who is going to be fired for this unacceptable lapse in judgement?
Tue, Jan 31, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.