The Board of Regents has reopened its investigation into how the alleged sexual assault of a woman by two former University of Iowa football players was handled by the U-I administration. The board held a special meeting Tuesday after it was revealed letters critical of the way the university handled the situation were sent to U-I President Sally Mason by the mother of the woman of the alleged victim.
Mason did not give the letters to the regents until last week. Mason said she believed releasing the letters would violate federal privacy laws, but told the board she regretted not turning the letters over, and would change the way things are handled.
I’ll make it clear to all members of my administration that our obligation to maintain the privacy of student records should never be interpreted as preventing us from sharing information that you request in pursuit of your governance responsibilities," Mason says.
The mother accuses the university of mishandling its response to her daughter’s allegations, saying officials encouraged her daughter to pursue a resolution "informally" and within the athletic department. The mother says they were told the informal process would be faster than involving police.
Athletic director Gary Barta says they have had to withhold comment as the investigation is ongoing. Barta says it is difficult, especially at a time when his character and that of football coach Kirk Ferentz and is being questioned. "Eventually we’ll have an opportunity to talk about it, first with the board and share everything with them, and ultimately one day share it publicly," Barta says.
The board appointed former Iowa Attorney General and current Regent, Bonnie Campbell, to oversee the investigation. Prior to learning about the letters, the regents had said its investigation showed the university handled the allegations appropriately.
Former players Abe Satterfield and Cedric Everson are accused in the case. Everson has been charged with second-degree sexual assault and Satterfield has been charged with second- and third-degree sexual assault. Both have pleaded not guilty.