126 Crime Reports Not Checked at Elizabeth City State

Jeff Hampton, The Virginian-Pilot, May 13, 2013

City police have uncovered 126 reports of crimes at Elizabeth City State University going back to 2007 that were never investigated by campus police, including 18 reports of sexual assaults.

Sam Beamon, campus police chief for 10 years, resigned Friday in the wake of a reported sexual assault at the Butler Hall dormitory last month. The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of obstruction of justice and witness intimidation by campus police.

On May 2, the Elizabeth City Police Department, at the request of the school, agreed to send off-duty patrol officers to help with campus security. City detectives are working five days a week, attempting to solve the backlog of cases, Capt. John Young of the city police said Monday.

So far, city police have resolved 40 minor cases, Young said. Police plan to continue working on campus for about two more months, he said. Arrests in the sexual assault cases will be announced as they are made, he said.

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The ECSU administration welcomes the review of the campus police by the SBI, Chancellor Willie Gilchrist said at a Monday news conference.

“We depend on all our department heads to be accountable,” Gilchrist said. “We were not aware this investigation was going to happen. You put your trust in who you have managing to handle it.”

{snip} Of the department’s 11 officers when the investigation began, Beamon and another officer resigned, one was fired, and three others are on leave, Gilchrist said. A seventh officer was put on leave in January for reasons unrelated to the SBI investigation.

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Last month, Katherine Lowe, an ECSU senior, reported to campus police that a man tried to assault her while in her dorm room on Feb. 13, March 9 and April 5, according to court documents. On the last occasion, he forced his way in and threw her on the bed, tried to hug and kiss her, and touched her inappropriately, according to the documents.

She said in a phone interview Monday that when she saw that no action was being taken, she reported the incidents to a Pasquotank County magistrate, who reported them to Elizabeth City Police.

“The school said they were handling it, but they weren’t,” Lowe said.

The ciy police on April 17 arrested Anthony O. Butler Jr., 29, a university employee, and charged him with two counts of assault and battery, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of assault on a woman–all misdemeanors.

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Elizabeth City State is a 122-year-old university with nearly 2,900 undergraduate students, according to its website.

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