Iowa lawmakers ask Board of Regents to attend meeting
DES MOINES, Iowa -- State lawmakers have requested that members of the Iowa Board of Regents attend a special meeting in September to talk about an investigation into an alleged sexual assault by two former Iowa football players while they were at the school.
The co-chairs of the Legislature's Joint Government Oversight Committee sent a letter to Regents president David Miles on Thursday. In it, they ask that Miles and other members of the board appear at a special committee meeting on Sept. 19 to update lawmakers on the new investigation into an alleged sexual assault at a university dorm in October.
The regents reopened the investigation after learning that university officials withheld two letters sent to the university by the alleged victim's mother.
Former football players Abe Satterfield and Cedric Everson, both 19, have each pleaded not guilty to charges in the case. Their trial is scheduled for Nov. 3 in Johnson County.
The heads of the Joint Government Oversight Committee, Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington, and Rep. Vicki Lensing, D-Iowa City, said they are encouraged by the regent's decision to reopen the investigation and to select an outside investigator to assist with the inquiry.
But, they also took the opportunity to air their concerns.
"Make no mistake about it: We are gravely concerned about allegations of a sexual assault at a campus residence hall, allegations that University officials withheld information from the regents and other Iowans and that the university's procedures and timelines were not followed, as well as reports of an attempted cover up by the University of Iowa," the letter stated.
They also offered the Legislature's help in the investigation.
"If at any time you believe that you are not receiving the full cooperation of University of Iowa employees and others, we encourage you to contact us immediately so that we can exercise our option to seek subpoena powers and bring witnesses before the Oversight Committee in a timely manner to ensure a full and open investigation," the letter said.
Courtney and Lensing said the committee wants to review the results of the reopened investigation and any of the regent's recommendations.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Board of Regents said a statement would be issued Thursday evening.
Miles responded in a statement that the regents' advisory committee conducting the investigation "will not hesitate to turn to the Joint Oversight Committee if, for any reason during the course of the investigation, their assistance becomes necessary."
"We look forward to meeting with the Joint Oversight Committee to review the results of the investigation and any subsequent recommendations, and we thank them once again for their support," Miles said.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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