Other women accused Carlsen
“A few” reported inappropriate touching by then-JCCC president, trustee statement says.
Kansas City Star, The (MO)-October 20, 2006
Author: MELODEE HALL BLOBAUM
A statement released late Thursday by Johnson County Community College trustees said additional women had reported being inappropriately touched by former President Charles Carlsen.
Carlsen retired abruptly in April after the school newspaper reported allegations that he had sexually harassed a female employee in 2003. He denied the allegations.
Fred Logan, Carlsen’s attorney, said Carlsen denies the allegations revealed Thursday and stands by what he has said from the very beginning: that he has done nothing wrong. Logan said Carlsen thinks that his record of service to the college and the community speaks for itself, and those people who know him and have worked with him will reject these allegations.
The trustees statement says “a few” women interviewed during an independent investigation by the Kansas City law firm Badger and Levings reported that from the late 1990s to early 2005, they had been touched in a manner similar to that reported by Teresa Lee, the woman identified in the school newspaper report.
“They said that they concluded that the conduct was not inadvertent or accidental because it was repeated,” the statement said. “A few other women confirmed what they called inappropriate conduct by Carlsen during this same time period but declined to specifically describe the conduct or answer other specific statements about it.”
The statement said all the women said the conduct occurred while they worked at the community college. Their allegations had never been reported to the college “under the college procedure or as a legal claim against the college,” the statement said.
The statement said Carlsen canceled a scheduled interview and ended his participation in the independent investigation before attorneys Betsy Badger and Theresa Levings could ask him about the other women’s allegations.
Some of those interviewed provided second-hand information about other women thought to have been the object of inappropriate conduct by Carlsen. Three of those women denied any improper conduct toward them, and one declined to speak with Badger and Levings.
The statement also addressed allegations that Lee had given a written narrative documenting the incidents to Trustee Elaine Perilla in 2004. The statement said that Lee and Perilla disagree about whether that happened.
Trustees voted 4-1 to release the statement after meeting for four hours behind closed doors with Badger, Levings and board attorney Mark Ferguson. Levings is the wife of Darryl Levings, The Star’s national editor, who played no role in reporting or editing this story.
Perilla voted against releasing the statement; Trustee Shirley Brown Van Arsdale was not at the meeting.
Perilla declined to comment on the statement or why she voted against releasing it.
Trustee Jon Stewart said releasing the statement was not the result of pressure from the media or from the faculty, who on Wednesday announced plans for a vote of no confidence in Perilla.
Trustee Ben Hodge said the board would continue to hear from Badger and Levings, and Chairman Lynn Mitchelson stressed that the board was committed to respecting the privacy of those who participated in the investigation.
He also said the board continues to investigate the atmosphere at the college.
“We have a change in style of leadership now,” he said. “We have a new interim president and a new chairman.”
Record Number: 1994087
Copyright 2006 The Kansas City Star Co.