Corruption Accusations Pile up Against the University of Nevada
The University of Nevada-Reno is battling accusations of corruption from a former soccer coach, a former police sergeant, and a former professor. The former employees accuse UNR officials of embezzling millions of dollars, intimidation, extortion, abuse of power, and using the UNR Police Department as a “private police force.”
Conrad Hafen, the chief criminal deputy attorney general, said many of the allegations “appear to be nonsensical” and in conflict with information from other sources.
Professor Richard Schweickert filed a claim for the allegations in April 2008. After the district court dismissed it, Schweicket and three others appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court and were awarded a second look, with the Supreme Court demanding a detailed analysis justifying the court’s ruling.
Several witnesses testified to a variety of alleged crimes committed by UNR officials.
Mary M. Lahren, a former geological sciences professor, said the then-chair of her department shoved a pipe between her legs and rubbed it against her genitals. When she complained, she said the administration sided with her boss and fought to stop her from receiving research money from the National Science Foundation. She said the incident drove her to quit.
“At first you probably thought this was a pretty outrageous claim,” Schweickert said in his closing testimony, “but we argue to you we have met our burden of reasonable evidence.”
The evidentiary hearing Thursday and Friday ended with Washoe County District Court Judge Connie Steinheimer saying it will take a long time to determine if the allegations and 5,000 pages of evidence warrant a grand jury investigation.
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