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South Carolina Radio Network: Citadel board responds to report on handling of Reville misconduct

April 8, 2013 by

reville as cadet

Reville’s Citadel photo. Report says the school showed “acquaintance bias” toward him because he had been a prominent cadet.

The Board of Visitors at the state’s military college says it will begin immediately to implement recommendations from an independent report of the school’s handling of sexual misconduct at a summer camp hosted by the school.  The incidents involved admitted serial child molester, Louis “Skip” Reville.

The Citadel Board of Visitors has had a couple of days to digest the independent report it requested to be conducted by two research firms: Wise Results (read report) and Margolis Healy (read report)

The board paid $364,000 (not from public funds) for investigators to look into the school’s handling of a complaint made in 2007 about an incident in 2002. Reville, a camp counselor and former cadet, showed pornography to and masturbated in front of boys. When a former camper’s father reported the misconduct, the victim was no longer a minor and the school’s attorney handled it as a civil matter. According to the report, the failure to report the claim was not a cover up:

Rather, it was a well-intentioned but inadequate investigation conducted by a single administrative member, operating in a vacuum of policy or procedure, with the administration passively relying upon incomplete and sporadic progress reports which were perceived by administration to be adequate at the time, and general counsel’s unilateral decision that due to the expressed position of the complainant and family desiring privacy the institution should not report.
Read the executive summary here.

Reville is in prison after confessing to 23 charges of child molestation that took place in the years following the summer camp. The school ended the camp in 2006, after settling a case of child molestation unrelated to the Reville misconduct.

Mullins McLeod, an attorney for victims who are suing the school, says the 100 page report ”is silent with regard to accountability which is troublesome because without accountability there will be no prevention. The families feel strongly that had the people in charge at The Citadel practiced what they preached then innocent children would not have been abused.”

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division in its own investigation has cleared the school of criminal wrongdoing, but Board of Visitors Chairman Doug Snyder said the third-party review was a necessary step toward accountability.

“We really wanted to investigate what really happened, but then review our policies and procedures and then to give us recommendations. It’s an independent review and its a broader one that just to investigate. We wanted to make sure that the policies were looked at and there were recommendations  going forward that we would be able to implement,” Snyder said.

Snyder and the board also released the report to the media within 12 hours of getting it themselves. When he spoke with South Carolina Radio Network, the board was still meeting and poring over the document.

Snyder said the school, under its president General John Rosa since 2006, had already taken some steps to protect and educate its students and staff.  It has identified a team of staff members to address allegations of sexual abuse the college may receive instead of assigning the responsibility to one individual.

Another of those is working with Darkness to Light, a national sexual assault education program  based out of Charleston. “We’re the first college in the United States to require all faculty, staff, anyone associated with the Citadel campus to go through Darkness to Light training which is specific to learning how to recognize things and how properly report misconduct,” said Snyder. “We weren’t waiting on the report to do things.”

Columbia attorney Joe McCollough served as liaison between the board and the investigation teams. He said Friday, “Hopefully this closes the book, though there are still some lawsuits that the Citadel has to deal with. Colleges and universities are microcosms of our state. College lawyers around the state and region will be interested in the bottom line of these reports.”

McLeod, who would comment only through a press release, says it is not over: ”In the wake of the Penn State scandal, its President and Joe Paterno were fired by the school’s Board. Today’s report confirms, however, that as for The Citadel it is business as usual. I suspect President Rosa and others will eventually learn that their self-serving hypocrisy will not extend beyond those gates.”

AUDIO: Excerpt of interview with Snyder (4:47)

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