Investigation
7:51 am
Fri February 10, 2012

UM releases internal review on child pornography possession case, statement issued

The University of Michigan has released its internal review on the allegations of child pornography possession by Stephen Jensen - a medical resident of the Pediatric Emergency Department at the UM Hospital.

University officials have been accused of waiting too long to report the incident to officials.

The review found that the initial investigation into the allegations "was insufficient and improper." 

A resident reported the potential crime to a lead university attorney who caused the resident "distress and a feeling that she should not have come forward with the report."

The report found that others in the UM Health System assumed that lead attorney took control of the investigation and awaited direction from that office, and that a "review of the computer by Health System personnel was insufficient and would have been enhanced if law enforcement had been involved to lead the investigation."

The attorney is no longer at the University of Michigan.

The review states:

University management accepts responsibility for the delay in reporting the crime, an unacceptable handling of the reporting and necessary investigation of the concern regarding child pornography. We conclude that the assertion of improper control of the investigation by the attorney and reliance on her conclusions by others were the root cause for the delay and improper handling of the initial report. The case should have been forwarded to the Department of Public Safety in May.

UM President, Mary Sue Coleman just released this statement:

Statement from President Mary Sue Coleman Feb. 10, 2012

On Dec. 3, 2011, I charged the Office of University Audits with conducting an internal review to determine why there was a six-month delay in responding to allegations of child pornography possession by a medical resident in the U-M Health System. I want to share that report and the response by University management. First, I’d like to make a statement about the findings.

This was a serious failure on the part of our institution – there is simply no other way to describe it.

Findings indicate that an attorney in the Health Legal Office acted improperly when the incident was reported to her. A University attorney must not assume the lead role in investigating a potential crime of this nature. This is solely the responsibility of the police. This attorney worked in the Legal Office from Feb. 21-June 10, 2011 and is no longer employed by the University; her departure was not connected to this specific matter.

It was not only the actions of one person that caused the delay in reporting, however. The auditor’s review has revealed a significant breakdown across a number of units responsible for the safety, security and well being of people on our campus.

The review also shows poor judgment on the part of several employees who could have done more in May. And, there were some who thought they had correctly reported a potential crime, and confusion among others about the process for reporting potential criminal activity. There can be no delay in reporting wrongdoing.

All of this is unacceptable and we will address it immediately.

Our top priority is the safety and security of our community. In this case, there is no indication of illegal or inappropriate behavior with patients, but we must get it right in every instance. We must have clear protocols for logging and investigating potential crime. We must build a sound process -- one that provides checks and balances so when serious errors in judgment or improper behavior occur, they are quickly identified and corrected.

We have already begun implementing a response plan that addresses problems identified in the audit. We are proceeding with individual corrective actions as appropriate.

And, I will move forward on the audit recommendation to bring in outside expertise to assess communication and cultural issues within Hospital Security, the Department of Public Safety and several other units with whom they interact. We will pursue all information that is revealed as a result of this situation to determine additional work that may be necessary.

I want to thank the medical resident who reported – not once, but twice -- what she saw. And I want to apologize to her for not properly investigating the allegations in May. It took an act of courage to come forward again, and it is because of her that the case is now moving forward in the legal system.

I believe this experience, painful as it has been, will enable all of us to properly address the seriousness of these issues with any and all future reports and investigations. As a community, we must and will be constantly vigilant.

We will have more on this story today.