On Mon., April 20, Aarefah Mosavi accused Mt. SAC employee Chester Brown of sexual assault in a video released on YouTube. In the video, Mosavi also accused Mt. SAC administration of attempting to cover up the alleged assault, and said that the investigation of the claims were not handled properly.
According to Mosavi, the alleged assault occurred in December 2013.
Mosavi, a current University of California, Berkley student, and former Mt. SAC student and co-worker of Brown, said she reported the incident on Jan., 27, 2014, to her then supervisor John Cardenas. He sent her to Director of Tutorial Services Bailey Smith. She was then directed to Human Resources.
On Feb., 11, 2014 Mosavi said she met with Director of Equal Employment Opportunities, Lorraine Jones, and explained her allegations of sexual assault against Brown. According to Mosavi, “Jones said that punitive actions could be taken against Chester Brown, and said that they would investigate.”
It appears that two months passed since Mosavi saw Jones again, but the status of the investigation at that time is unavailable.
On April 4, 2014, Mosavi said Jones asked her to “physically simulate the rape” on the person taking notes during the meeting. In that, Mosavi said Jones instructed her to play the role of Brown. According to Mosavi, Jones notified her on April 8 that the case would be turned over to Mt. SAC Public Safety.
Mt. SAC Public Safety Officer Joe Carl, who began the investigation on April 14, informed Mosavi that he would inform Jones that Brown had allegedly raped Mosavi manually.
SAC.Media reached out to Jones but she declined to comment.
Mosavi said that she met with Mt. SAC President Dr. Bill Scroggins on the morning of June 6, 2014 to ask that, “he do more to keep students and faculty safe, such as invest in security cameras.” Mosavi said that Scroggins declined her request for security cameras and explained to her that no school had security cameras.
“I was appalled when he declared that my concerns [did] not serve the interests of the Mt. SAC community,’ that my experience was a ‘rare exception’ since Mt. SAC is a ‘relatively safe campus,’” said Mosavi.
It is unclear what happened between the months of April and June when Mosavi met with Scroggins. There is no record of an ongoing investigation.
According to interviews with public safety and Mosavi, the allegations of sexual assault had already been filed through Mt. SAC and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. SAC.Media confirmed that a police report was filed on May 8, 2014.
However, Scroggins’ account of events does not match what Mosavi said in an interview with SAC.Media. Scroggins said, “There was an investigation that began in February 2014, and I was aware of the investigation. When the investigative report was shared with the complainant she had some concerns.”
Regarding the claims by Mosavi that she was asked to physically demonstrate the attacks by Jones on April 4, 2014, Scroggins said he is “not part of the investigative process that happens at the college.” Scroggins said in general he gets a copy of the investigation when it is completed.
It was discovered that while a report was made by Mosavi to public safety, they did not log it in the college crime report which is a violation of the Clery Act. The Clery Act is a federal law that requires United States colleges and universities to disclose information to students about crimes on and around campus. The Clery act is tied to a college’s participation in federal student financial aid. It applies to most private and public colleges and universities. So how does that affect Mt. SAC in this situation? Violations of the Clery Act can have numerous consequences including “up to $35,000 per violation fines, the limitation or suspension of federal aid, or the loss of eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs.”
Chief of Public Safety Dan Wilson acknowledged that no report was filed when Mosavi came forward and the investigation into the alleged assault began. Wilson said: “The people that were here at the time erroneously did not include it so it’s not in the current public safety crime report, it’s not correctly captured. We realized that last week when all this was coming to a head that previous people who were in charge here — for whatever reason and I don’t know why — didn’t mark. There should be a one where it says December of 2013 because that’s when, that’s not when we became aware of it, that’s when it was reported to have occurred.”
Mosavi claims that Mt. SAC attempted to cover up the alleged assault, however Wilson assures that there is no cover up. “We will explain [the missing log] but to do it right now is really poor timing. It makes it look like we’re trying to cover something up. We are not. Somebody screwed up and didn’t put it in there,” Wilson said.
Scroggins said he does not monitor or keep track of public safety’s regular practices, thus he was unaware of the missing log.
Mosavi also claimed that she met with Scroggins on June 6, 2014, but that could not be verified with Scroggins. However, Scroggins said that the date sounded “about right.”
When asked about his meeting with Mosavi and whether or not he said that no other college used cameras, Scroggins said he does not remember the conversation to that level of detail.
Scroggins was also unable to recall any other specific details of his meeting with Mosavi, however he reinforced that he does not control the investigative process. “Our discussion was subsequent to the conclusion of the investigation,” Scroggins said.
This statement however does not coincide with Scroggins’ description of his meeting with Mosavi.
Scroggins said, “When the investigative report was shared with the complainant, she had some concerns. She wanted to talk to me. I always have an open door so I had an opportunity to meet with her and our Director of Equal Employment Opportunity and listen to what she had to say.” Scroggins said that this conversation took place in February of 2014.
Scroggins said that Mosavi’s alleged assault is a “rare exception,” but there has been other cases of sexual misconduct at Mt. SAC. In fact Mosavi is the eighth student to bring up allegations of sexual misconduct since 2012, and Brown is among a handful of employees to be accused. This is also not the first time Mt. SAC has been accused of mishandling and covering up allegations of assault and sexual abuse. In the past two years, several separate accusations of sexual assault were brought to the administrations attention but students were not notified of the incidents.
In 2012, seven athletes from the women’s track and field team accused former assistant track and field coach Carlos Moore of sexual harassment, sexual battery, retaliation, false imprisonment and discrimination. In the December 2013 issue of the Mountaineer newspaper, it was reported that court documents supported the claim that Moore sexually harassed the athletes for a year and a half. According to the Mountaineer, “The plaintiffs allege that the coach retaliated against them for refusing his advances and that they were subsequently harassed with text messages, inappropriate touching and being kept against their will.”
In March of 2013, former men’s basketball head coach Allen Caveness filed a lawsuit against Mt. SAC, softball head coach Rubilena Rojas, women’s soccer coach Melinda Bowen, and former softball coach Kelly Ford alleging breach of contract. According to documents obtained from the court, Caveness alleged that “Rojas falsely reported that he had engaged in sexual relations with one or more students.”
Soon after the allegations, Caveness and the college entered into a settlement agreement and Caveness resigned. According to Caveness, the agreement was to be confidential and any questions were to be directed to the Director of Human Resources.
In the lawsuit, Caveness claims that “after suffering the loss of his coveted position as Mt. SAC’s head basketball coach, his victimization did not end.” He alleged that Rojas, Bowen and Ford, the defendants, sought out potential employers and spread false accusations of sexual misconduct and pending investigations in order to make sure that his career would be destroyed.
There is no way of knowing how many other incidents were not reported by public safety or perhaps even investigated by the college. Wilson said in an interview with SAC.Media on April 28 that he did not know how the previous chief of public safety handled these types of situations or why Mosavi’s claims were not logged or reported, be he “can confidently say that from January of this year going forward we’ll be dead on with what we’re doing, including cleaning up this.”
So how does public safety plan to “clean up” the situation? SAC.Media, after several requests, and after being told that an incident report was never filed, was contacted and told that there was an incident report filed and that we could come pick it up. This is contrary to what Wilson said. According to Wilson, nothing was filed regarding the case and it was not included on the annual safety and security report.
The incident report, with the names redacted, contained a complete description of the investigation made by Officer Joe Carl at the request of Chief Mark DiMaggio. According to the report, the investigation began on April 17, 2014, and an in-person interview was conducted on April 18, 2014.
However, in an interview with SAC.Media, Mosavi said she wasn’t notified until April 8, 2014 by Jones that the case would be transferred to public safety. Mosavi added that she met with Carl on April 14.
It is important to note that the incident report closely matches the words used by Mosavi in the YouTube video where she describes the assault.
SAC.Media made numerous attempts to contact Brown who did not respond for comment.
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