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UPDATE: Task force completes first phase of post-Menu Courey evaluation

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 | 7:07 p.m. CDT; updated 12:09 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 3, 2014

COLUMBIA — Nearly seven weeks after a task force was created to evaluate the sexual assault policies and resources on all four University of Missouri System campuses, MU announced Wednesday it had completed the first phase of the process.

It sent out a list of 10 campus organizations that in some way support sexual assault victims.

In an email, Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin called Phase I an "inventory" of the sexual assault resources at MU and encouraged the campus community to take advantage of them.

Loftin's email also said Phase I encompassed ensuring "that each campus has an effective process for reporting (sexual assault) incidents; and that each campus has an adequate capacity to address mental health issues among our students, faculty and staff."

However, the email did not indicate what the results were of an evaluation of reporting or MU's response to mental health issues. It also did not indicate whether those two areas were addressed by the task force.

Loftin did not respond to requests for an interview Wednesday, and interim MU News Bureau director Christian Basi said no further information was available about the task force's work in the first phase.

UM System President Tim Wolfe formed the task force with members from the four system schools to review each school's policies on reporting sexual assaults and the availability of mental health services in the aftermath of an ESPN "Outside the Lines" story about former MU athlete Sasha Menu Courey. The story said she was assaulted by three football players and that she told several university employees about the assault. She took her own life in June 2011 after leaving MU.

The UM Board of Curators also hired the Dowd Bennett law firm as an independent counsel to determine whether MU employees acted consistently with university policy and legal statutes in the Menu Courey case.

The Columbia Police Department said Wednesday that it has not been able to make progress in its investigation of the case, which city police began looking into after the ESPN story was published in late January. MU Police passed the investigation over to Columbia Police and have said that Menu Corey never reported the incident to them. The case would have been out of campus police jurisdiction because it was alleged to have occurred off campus.

Assistant Columbia Police Chief Jill Schlude said via email that police were still trying to contact people connected to the case, including Gil Moye. The ESPN story alleged that Moye was present when Menu Courey was assaulted.

"We have been trying to speak with Gil Moye in reference to this case but have not been able to get in contact with him," Schlude said. "We believe he is aware that we are trying to contact him, and we hope he will return our calls."

Schlude also said police were trying to locate the video or speak with anyone who had seen the video that the ESPN story references. It is described in the story as showing the assault as it took place.

The ESPN story about Menu-Corey also alleged that Menu Courey had told at least one MU athletics department employee that she'd been sexually assaulted. That allegation was denied by the employee, Meghan Anderson, the athletics department academic adviser.

"We have completed this initial phase of the review for MU, and I want to take this opportunity to remind you of the important resources that we have available for those who have been victims or wish to report a sexual assault, or who have mental health issues," Loftin said in the email.

The task force for the UM System is led by Deborah Noble-Triplett, who is the assistant vice president for academic affairs for the system. MU's representative is Deputy Chancellor Mike Middleton.

Loftin listed the following campus resources in his email:

  • Women's Center 882-6621 or women.missouri.edu — It offers help to students in crisis and provides educational resources and programs to students, staff, faculty and community members.

The UM System will report the first phase of the task force and Dowd Bennett's findings at next week's curators meeting in Rolla, according to a Wednesday news release.

"We will ensure that our campuses have the necessary resources to educate the campus community about sexual assault prevention as well as an effective process for reporting such incidents, plus adequate capacity to address mental health issues," Wolfe said in the release. "Today is the latest step in that process."

Wolfe said he plans to provide additional resources and funding from the budget if the task force finds deficiencies.

Supervising editors are Elizabeth Brixey and Katherine Reed.


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