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Law enforcement: Investigation reports not shared with BYU Honor Code Office

Published April 19, 2016 5:58 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

There's an apocryphal story of a long-since-retired Utah County sheriff's deputy who would take police reports to Brigham Young University's Honor Code Office, said sheriff's Sgt. Spencer Cannon.

But if that was ever standard practice, he said, "we've put a kibosh on that."

"If I notified the Honor Code Office of every time I witnessed a violation, I'd have to work 24 hours every day of the week," he said.

Cannon said this week that he hopes recent media coverage of BYU's practice of referring some students who report sexual crimes to its Honor Code Office — and a sheriff's deputy's role in providing that office with a police file in one case — will not dissuade victims from reporting such crimes in the future.

"It has been clear to me and I think everybody else here that we don't release information to the public unless through authorized channels," he said, comments echoed by representatives of the Orem, Provo and BYU police departments.

Provo Lt. Brandon Post said that during four years in his department's special victims unit, he can't recall ever involving BYU's Honor Code Office in an investigation.

Said Orem Sgt. Craig Martinez: "We don't even ask if anybody we deal with is a college student."

Cannon said his office has received phone calls, emails and Facebook posts from citizens concerned about victims' privacy after it was reported that Deputy Edwin Randolph — in what Cannon said was an off-duty capacity — shared a police file with the Honor Code Office and prompted an investigation into an alleged rape victim.

READ MORE: Sheriff says employee who shared rape report with BYU was trying to prevent sex assaults —

The Honor Code and sexual assault at BYU

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April 12 • BYU students who are victims of sex crimes say they are investigated by the school and sometimes disciplined after reporting their abuse, and that in such cases the school's Title IX office alerts the Honor Code Office.

April 14 • A BYU student whose sexual-assault report led to an Honor Code Office review garners tens of thousands of signatures supporting her demand that BYU change its practices.

April 15 • Deputy Utah County Attorney Craig Johnson says BYU jeopardizes a pending rape prosecution because the Honor Code Office — after obtaining the police file from a Utah County sheriff's deputy who knew the suspect — refuses to delay its own case against the alleged victim.

April 15 • Utah County Attorney Jeffrey Buhman counters his prosecutor's opinion that BYU's Honor Code Office was threatening a pending rape prosecution with its probe into the victim's actions. Buhman said he dropped a witness retaliation charge against a Utah County sheriff's deputy because of information he learned from an inadmissible internal affairs investigation.

April 16 • The Tribune's editorial board calls on BYU to maintain its standards without revictimizing students who have been sexually abused.

April 18 • BYU said its Title IX investigators, charged with protecting students from sex discrimination, sometimes refer sexual assault victims to the Honor Code Office for investigation of their conduct, and announces that it will review "potential structural changes" in light of public concern.




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