New Criminal Allegations, Demands From OU Sexual Assault Accusers
Meeting just steps from buildings, plaques and statues bearing the name of their former president, OU Regents met in a marathon closed door meeting Friday, alleged sexual assault victims of former OU’s President David Boren and Vice President Tripp Hall demanded sweeping changes to OU policy and dramatically increased transparency from university officials.
The two accusers, Jess Eddy and Levi Hilliard, and their spokeswoman Sara Bana, accused OU’s Title IX office of deflecting and hiding allegations of sexual misconduct and criminal activity for decades.
Bana reading a list of alleged crimes and misconduct including sexual assault, sexual battery and rape as well as fraud, conspiracy and various kinds of discrimination and harassment.
“A crisis of decades long abuse of power has afflicted the university on a scope and scale, the magnitude of which is difficult to comprehend,” Bana said Friday.
The trio specifically accused OU’s Title IX office, meant to protect students and staff under the federal law of the same name, with working hand-in-hand with OU’s General Counsel and other officials to prevent their accusations and the accusations of others from going forward.
“The Board of Regents and the Title IX office itself have given license to the perpetrators and a basis to continue and to escalate in their predatory behavior and as such I believe this cannot continue and that reform needs to happen,” Levi Hilliard said.
Hilliard has accused Hall of sexual assault. He has also gone to the OSBI which is investigating.
“They have wrongfully worked closely and truly perverted what should have been the university's safe space for victims,” Jess Eddy said.
Eddy is accusing both Boren and Hall of sexual criminal activity. He and a third man have also gone to the OSBI with their allegations.
Efforts to reach the Title IX office in recent days have been unsuccessful. OU Spokesperson Lauren Brookey told reporters officials were “not prepared” to address the allegations made by the alleged victims.
“We have a lot to say about Title IX but the problem is we don’t have all of our facts in place,” Brookey said. Brookey added OU officials would address Title IX at a later date in time.
According to OU’s Title IX policies all employees are under a mandatory policy to report allegations to the Title IX office. If what accusers are alleging is discovered to be founded during investigation, any employees would be in breach of OU policies. There is no mention however of mandatory reporting of criminal activity to law enforcement, although officials are not allowed to impede an accuser’s ability to do so.
Bana, Eddy and Hilliard also demanded the release of findings from a set of investigations into OU finances and personnel, which OU Regents in their 6-hour meeting which was characterized by the board’s chairman Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes as merely an informational meeting for the newest regents.
Those findings, the three said, were only released to OU officials and Boren.
The alleged victims say they have not seen those findings yet.
News9 was not able to independently confirm that Friday.
Regents declined to take questions from reporters instead reading a prepared remark.
“We recognize the obligations to our university and our state. We are working hard to face these challenges respectfully, responsibly and in compliance with the law,” Rainbolt-Forbes said after the meeting.
The mostly dull proceeding ended with tension, when Mr. Eddy attempted to confront a member of a meeting. The woman was not a Regent, but instead an attorney Mr. Eddy accused of unethical behavior.
Eddy walked into the offices where the Regents were holed up. Both Brookey and Bana described Eddy as upset although they differed greatly as to how heated the incident became. Eddy was essentially made to leave the building at the suggestion of Brookey, according to her own account.
Efforts to reach either Tripp Hall or David Boren's Attorney were unsuccessful Friday although both men have strongly denied the allegations in the past.