Posted: Feb 14, 2014 11:41 AM by Katie Kiebles, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
Updated: Feb 17, 2014 10:37 AM
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri announced Friday it hired independent counsel, the Dowd Bennett Law Firm out of St. Louis, to investigate whether university employees acted within the law and university policies regarding Sasha Menu Courey sexual assault allegations. The former MU swimmer committed suicide after her family said she was sexually assaulted. The board approved the hiring on Jan. 29 and the firm is to report back to the UM Board of Curators at its next meeting, April 11.
University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair Don Downing said, "Ms. Courey's story is heartbreaking, and our sympathy and prayers remain with her family, friends and teammates. The board believes that it is important to take an independent look at the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic event, and how it was handled by university employees. We are pleased with the well-qualified, experienced and diverse team that Dowd Bennett has assembled to conduct this independent investigation."
Those working on the investigation include Edward Dowd, Gabriel Gore, Lisa Hoppenjams, Jim Martin and Becky Powers. According to UM System officials, two of the attorneys served as United States attorneys and three served as assistant United States attorneys and other members have also worked on sex crimes and sexual assault allegations. The University of Missouri curators said in their release, "No member of the team is an MU alum, and the firm has never performed work for the University of Missouri."
Edward Dowd said, "Our task from the Board of Curators is to do a complete investigation, get all the facts and report our findings properly."
Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to contact Dowd Bennett attorneys directly at (314) 889-7300. To report anonymously can call (855) 208-3252 or submit a report online at www.independentcounsel.ethicspoint.com.