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The state Records Committee voted unanimously Tuesday to release documents from the internal affairs investigation of a Utah County sheriff's corrections officer who shared police records from a rape case with BYU's Honor Code office.

Deputy Edwin Randolph was once accused of retaliating against Brigham Young University student Madi Barney, who reported that she was raped in 2015. However, a third-degree felony witness retaliation charge against the Utah County sheriff's deputy was dropped days after it was filed in February.

Nasiru Seidu, 40, was charged with first-degree felony rape in connection to Barney's report. He was also charged with witness retaliation, but that case was later dismissed by a judge.

The school's Honor Code Office began investigating Barney after 47-year-old Randolph, an acquaintance of Seidu's, brought a police file detailing the rape investigation to the office.

The Tribune requested documents detailing a subsequent internal affairs investigation into Randolph's actions. After receiving a heavily-redacted version of the report, The Tribune appealed to the state Records Committee.

On Tuesday, Deputy Utah County Attorney Cort Griffin argued before the committee that the disputed pages of redacted county investigation records are part of Randolph's private personal file and should be considered private because they pertain to actions he performed while off duty.

In addition, Griffin said, their release may influence witnesses who are part of an ongoing Peace Officer Standards and Training investigation into Randolph's conduct and could cause "discontent" among co-workers in the sheriff's office.

He also implied that the release of county records was not necessary because the newspaper already had access to redacted reports from the Provo Police Department, which was investigating Randolph's actions as possible witness retaliation.

"The public already has the facts. The Tribune already has the [Provo] police report," Griffin said. "They can decide for themselves whether or not they thought this was mishandled."

While The Salt Lake Tribune has received "pages and pages and pages of material about Deputy Randolph's conduct" from Provo police, Tribune reporter Erin Alberty asked the committee to consider "what is so invasive about explaining why the charges were dropped."

Fellow Tribune reporter Nate Carlisle added that the redacted pages show there is more to the story than has been released.

Seidu's witness retaliation charge was dismissed by a judge, who found there was not sufficient evidence for the case to proceed. But Randolph's charge was dismissed at the request of Utah County Attorney Jeff Buhman, who has said he reviewed information gleaned from Randolph's internal affairs investigation before deciding that the criminal case should not move forward. Buhman said in April that not even his own prosecutor was allowed to know what facts in the internal affairs report that led to the dismissal.

Committee members ruled the records should be made public, with specific redactions protecting the identity of any witnesses referred to in the records.

"While I appreciate that we need police officers who feel like they have each other's back, that's important," committee member Holly Richardson said, "but it's also the definition of the good old boys club, when you circle the wagons around someone to protect them from potential consequences of their actions that should be public. And the public has a right to trust ... their police officers."

Committee member Chad Lambourne, a former law enforcement officer, added that while "cops hate their [internal affairs] files being out in public," he "absolutely see[s] the need for it" because "the public can't trust officers if their discipline files" are kept secret.

Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard, committee members said, and can be scrutinized for their actions while off duty.

The committee will issue an order for the release of records within a week, after which Utah County has 30 days to appeal the decision. Griffin said the Utah County Commission will decide whether or not to appeal the committee's decision.

The Tribune does not generally identify alleged victims of sexual assault, but Barney has agreed to be named.

Twitter: @mnoblenews