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He was investigated for sexting a pupil on the Coast Guard Academy. He is now a university president. | CNN

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Tune into CNN AC360 tonight for Chief Investigative Correspondent Pamela Brown’s report on this story.



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A university president, who desires his campus to grow to be the enterprise faculty “of selection for girls,” as soon as exchanged a whole lot of sexually suggestive messages with a pupil he taught on the prestigious Coast Guard Academy, prompting prosecutors to advocate prices in opposition to him in army court docket, in keeping with confidential information obtained by CNN.

Attorneys on the Coast Guard had been so troubled by Capt. Glenn Sulmasy’s actions — and by the truth that he continued to work with college students — that they really useful in early 2016 that he be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer regardless that he had retired from the service the prior yr.

“Prosecution seems to be the one correct plan of action,” an lawyer wrote in a February 2016 memo laying out the prosecution advice. Failing to behave, the lawyer added, might entice “important adverse publicity by the media, Congress and inside workers for the looks of sweeping the case below the rug.”

Coast Guard leaders, nevertheless, quashed the case and by no means prosecuted Sulmasy, which allowed his profession in personal academia to flourish. He now heads Nichols School, a small faculty in Massachusetts that focuses on enterprise and management schooling.

Sulmasy’s lawyer, Jeffrey Robbins, defended his consumer, calling the prosecution memo, supplied to him by CNN, “ridiculous on its face.” He famous that “the intimate texts in query” with the scholar had been characterised by prosecutors as “consensual in nature” and stated that the proposed prosecution had been “rightfully rejected by the adults throughout the authorized wing of the Coast Guard.”

Following CNN inquiries, the chairman of the board of trustees at Nichols School stated the varsity had launched an “neutral, third-party investigation into this matter” and that they take “these allegations very severely.” In a notice to the campus neighborhood final week, he stated Sulmasy volunteered to take a go away of absence pending the outcomes of that investigation.

The case from almost a decade in the past is one other hidden instance of the Coast Guard internally expressing concern about alleged misconduct however in the end failing to carry its service members accountable.

CNN in June uncovered a secret investigation of rapes and sexual assaults on the company’s academy, which discovered that dozens of assaults had been mishandled, permitting some alleged sexual predators to ascend to high-level roles within the US army. The findings of that investigation, dubbed Operation Fouled Anchor, had been withheld from Congress till CNN reporters began making inquiries. And, CNN discovered that the company’s prime leaders had been behind the cover-up.

Coast Guard attorneys argued that retired Coast Guard officer Glenn Sulmasy should be prosecuted in a military court-martial for conduct unbecoming an officer and willful dereliction of duty.

Within the separate investigation into Sulmasy, Coast Guard investigators uncovered greater than 1,600 texts between him and a younger feminine pupil, nearly all of which had been of a “sexual or flirtatious nature,” demonstrating that “at greatest, he supplied to present excessive grades and present favoritism at school in alternate for sexual banter, and at worst, he really did so,” in keeping with the inner Coast Guard prosecution memo.

The memo stated the scholar advised investigators she had earned the grades herself and denied any sexual contact with Sulmasy. It additionally described the younger girl as a “prepared participant” within the exchanges with Sulmasy and stated she had been designated as a witness to his alleged misconduct and was not being granted the advantages given to victims of against the law.

The messages present Sulmasy, who additionally served as a division chair on the academy, commenting on how attracted he was to the scholar greater than 20 years his junior, requesting images of her and expressing his want to “spoil” her. “I’m… an excellent boy — no last for the goddess,” he wrote one evening. “Simply know that I’ll give u a 100,” he stated about one other project. “Do u luv turning me on…U actually regarded nice and the nails had been very hott.”

Coast Guard attorneys discovered that the “sturdy” proof in opposition to him warranted prosecuting him in a army court-martial for conduct unbecoming an officer and willful dereliction of responsibility round eight months after he had retired from the academy and brought on an administrator position at a non-public college, information present.

Whereas Sulmasy’s misconduct case centered on his interactions with one feminine cadet, attorneys wrote that “there are possible different college students whom [Capt.] Sulmasy pursued,” saying that shifting the case ahead might presumably deliver new ladies out of the shadows.

Attorneys famous within the prosecution memo {that a} court-martial of a retired officer was uncommon and stated a profitable prosecution for somebody as effectively linked as Sulmasy was much more unlikely. However they argued that it was the “Coast Guard’s obligation to guard college students and establishments.” If profitable, such a prosecution might have stripped Sulmasy of his pension and landed him behind bars, although prosecutors famous securing the utmost punishment for the alleged misconduct was unlikely.

Ultimately, Coast Guard leaders overruled the prosecutors and determined to not press prices in opposition to Sulmasy, protecting the findings of the investigation from being made public. Sulmasy labored as provost at Bryant College for a lot of years earlier than leaving to grow to be the president at Nichols School in Massachusetts in 2021. Bryant College didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.

The Coast Guard Academy, located in New London, Connecticut, is a training ground for many of the agency's top officers.

An academy graduate himself, Sulmasy labored on the academy for a few years as an lawyer, professor and finally the top of the varsity’s humanities division. In the course of the Fouled Anchor investigation, Sulmasy was talked about by at the least one girl who stated he discouraged her from pursuing a rape grievance in opposition to one other cadet whereas he was working on the faculty within the late Nineties, court docket information present. Fouled Anchor investigators discovered an announcement she had made about her alleged assault years later in a field labeled with Sulmasy’s title.

A earlier lawyer for Sulmasy advised CNN his consumer “has no recollection of any such dialog from 1 / 4 of a century in the past, a lot much less of getting stated something that might discourage any cadet from placing one other cadet on report for a severe felony offense.” His present lawyer disputed that Sulmasy had ever been in a gathering with the girl, noting she advised investigators she initially met with Sulmasy at a time earlier than he had begun working on the academy. The lawyer for Sulmasy pointed CNN to a 2016 ruling by a army decide who acknowledged that the cadet reported her rape allegation to 4 Coast Guard Academy authorities, none of whom had been Sulmasy. That ruling described Sulmasy’s boss as a “major” particular person with whom the girl spoke about her allegation within the Nineties.

In a 2017 court docket submitting, nevertheless, army attorneys described Sulmasy as a “predominant witness” with whom the cadet talked about her rape allegation. In an interview with CNN, the girl stated she particularly remembered assembly with Sulmasy about her allegation.

Within the wake of CNN’s reporting on Fouled Anchor, the Coast Guard launched a assessment of its insurance policies on assault and harassment and introduced modifications in how allegations are dealt with by the company. And former vice commandant Charles Ray, who declined remark, resigned from his place at a Coast Guard Academy management institute after CNN reported he helped preserve Fouled Anchor secret. Each Home and Senate lawmakers have slammed the company for protecting the investigation secret and known as for impartial investigations, with a Senate inquiry introduced simply final week. And Home lawmakers have launched laws that might improve protections for academy cadets reporting sexual assault allegations.

CNN began asking questions and filed a public information request concerning the Coast Guard’s investigation into Sulmasy greater than three months in the past, however the company has but to supply any particulars of the investigation or clarify why prices weren’t filed as really useful, saying final week that “authorized constraints stop the Coast Guard from commenting on personnel issues associated to Mr. Sulmasy.”

Melissa McCafferty, a 2011 academy graduate, says it wasn’t lengthy after arriving on campus that she started listening to a whisper community of warnings from upperclassmen about Sulmasy.

In line with McCafferty, Sulmasy verbally harassed her, telling her she regarded good in her pencil skirt and making sexual feedback. Because the harassment continued, she says she advised a feminine professor on the academy, who was herself a Coast Guard sexual assault survivor, what had occurred, however the girl warned that she ought to keep silent, saying Sulmasy was “untouchable” and that saying one thing might “jeopardize (her) profession.”

Melissa McCafferty told CNN it wasn't long after arriving at the Coast Guard Academy that she received warnings from upperclassmen to avoid Glenn Sulmasy.

After she graduated from the academy, McCafferty stated she reached out to Sulmasy to see if he would write her a letter of advice for legislation faculty primarily based on her tutorial efficiency on the academy. However in response, she remembers him texting again that he would solely write her a letter if she despatched him photos of herself, telling her he had all the time beloved her foot tattoo. “I finished the dialog and located a letter elsewhere… It made me really feel very soiled and disrespected and really dehumanized,” she stated.

She stated she saved the messages for years however was by no means requested about them so discarded the cellphone when she retired in 2019. She did, nevertheless, join CNN to a former colleague who confirmed having seen the textual content messages and that they got here from a captain within the Coast Guard. The colleague, nevertheless, didn’t bear in mind the captain’s title.

Sulmasy’s lawyer advised CNN that McCafferty’s allegations had been “categorically false.”

The Coast Guard advised CNN that it had referred allegations from McCafferty to Coast Guard felony investigators after being contacted by CNN and urged “anybody who has skilled or noticed assault or harassment throughout the Coast Guard to make reviews to their command or to the Coast Guard Investigative Service.” McCafferty confirmed to CNN that she had been contacted by Coast Guard investigators about her allegations.

As we speak, McCafferty, a latest Georgetown Regulation graduate, says she continues to be offended about the best way she and different feminine college students had been handled and says it’s unacceptable that the Coast Guard had a chance to carry Sulmasy accountable for his actions however didn’t.

“Lots of these folks had been his mates. They went to high school with him,” she stated. “They simply wished it to go away.”

Do you may have info or an expertise to share associated to the Coast Guard Academy or the Coast Guard at giant? E-mail melanie.hicken@cnn.com.

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