The University of Michigan child porn scandal

U-M-hospitals

Photo by AnnArbor.com

In January 2012, I exposed that University of Michigan officials waited six months to tell police that child porn was found in the pediatric emergency department at University of Michigan Hospital. Two university lawyers identified a suspect and other officials knew about it, but no one told the cops. A day after the story was published, University of Michigan Health System CEO Ora Pescovitz called it a “painful moment in our history.” University president Mary Sue Coleman called it a “serious failure.” Then, U.S. Secret Service agents assigned to a child exploitation task force took over the investigation and resident physician Dr. Stephen Jenson faced federal charges. In a rare move, the Board of Regents overrode Coleman and ordered an external investigation, spending more than a half-million dollars. The university then created an entire new police department as a result of my coverage. I exposed that the university knew better.¬† Hospital security officials were previously investigated for obstructing justice in a death investigation. Prosecutors scolded them at that time. Unlike the Penn State scandal, the report of University of Michigan’s external investigation remains a secret. The university has refused to release it to the media.

Here’s the original story:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/university-of-michigan-officials-didnt-report-child-porn-to-police-for-six-months/

A day after my article, hospital CEO Ora Pescovitz addresses the scandal:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/u-m-health-system-ceo-calls-delay-in-child-porn-reporting-painful-moment-in-our-history/

President Coleman called it a serious failure:

http://www.annarbor.com/health/u-m-releases-report-on-internal-review-into-6-month-delay-in-reporting-child-porn-to-police/

I exposed that hospital security officials were previously investigated for obstruction of justice:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/university-of-michigan-hospital-officials-didnt-forward-report-on-suspicious-death-to-police-4-years/

This story shows how university lawyers, instead of calling police, instructed the IT department to do a secret investigation:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/u-m-health-system-attorney-who-handled-child-porn-case-is-identified/

The university has extensive documentation on this case here:

http://vpcomm.umich.edu/pa/key/resident.html

Here’s a story in the Detroit Free Press about changes the university made after my coverage:

http://www.freep.com/article/20121020/NEWS01/310200161/Handling-of-child-porn-report-forces-changes-at-U-M

Here’s an article by one of my former colleagues, who obtained more records on the case last year:

http://www.annarbor.com/news/crime/stephen-jenson-university-of-michigan-records-6-month-delay/

The L.A. Times coverage of the case can be found here:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/15/nation/la-na-nn-penn-state-michigan-sex-allegations-20120715

In 2008, prosecutors told the university that they were being “less than forthright or cooperative” with law enforcement and not reporting crimes on the advice of general counsel. This is years before the child porn scandal. Michigan blogger Doug Smith recovered the memo:

http://www.washtenawwatchdogs.com/county-prosecutors-office-says-um-hospital-is-not-reporting-crimes

 

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