The state Board of Regents has hired a St. Louis-based law firm to investigate the University of Iowa’s handling of an alleged sexual assault committed by two former football players. The Regents re-opened the investigation after learning letters from the victim’s mother were not given to them when they first reviewed the case.
Regent Bonnie Campbell leads the executive committee that has hired the Stolar Partnership, and says the firm will ensure independent investigation. "We felt that we should hire outside counsel and use that as a way to ensure the people of Iowa that we are going to reach our singular objective," Campbell says. Campbell says that objective is getting to the bottom of the matter before them.
Campbell, who is a lawyer, says it became painfully obvious that this case requires expertise that an independent firm can provide. Campbell says it is "very complicated, tangled matter, if you will" that includes civil matters involving open records lawsuits, along with criminal matters that are pending, and "a number of very complicated matters." She says having the outside firm sort through all the issues is the best way to move ahead.
Stolar lawyer, Richard Mersman, says their investigation begins with a review of two letters written to the University by the mother of the alleged victim. Mersman says the letters will be the "foundational beginning" of their investigation, and then they will do an analysis of the various procedures and policies, and whether they were appropriate in how they were handled.
James Bryant will be the lead lawyer on the ground in Iowa conducting the Stolar investigation. Bryant says this is starting a new independent investigation by people who know very little of what has already taken place. Bryant says they expect to released a written report by September 18th.
"We’re going to try and ascertain the facts and circumstances, what happened, what procedures were followed, what procedures weren’t, were the procedures good, were they bad, do they need to be changed," Bryant says. Campbell says the Stolar Partnership will be paid based on the amount of time it takes to complete the investigation.
Mersman says while he can’t provide an exact estimate of the bill, it will be below $250,000. 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 pled not guilty.