E-mails detail Citadel handling of abuse complaint

AP News
Posted: Dec 01, 2011 1:21 PM
E-mails detail Citadel handling of abuse complaint

An attorney for the South Carolina military college The Citadel hoped to avoid a criminal investigation and a lawsuit by conducting an internal investigation into a 2007 abuse complaint about a former summer camp counselor now facing charges of molesting nine children, e-mails released by the school show.

"I am hopeful that, by conducting an investigation on behalf of the school, no `formal' investigation - criminal or civil - will occur," said a May 8, 2007, e-mail from Mark Brandenburg, the college's general counsel. "Of course, I cannot guarantee that, as I have no control over what the complainant does."

The e-mail, with the name of the recipient blacked out, was one of almost 50 pages of documents the college released late Wednesday concerning its response to a complaint about Louis ReVille, 32, who faces abuse charges in Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Police in other Charleston-area jurisdictions have said additional charges are expected.

The Citadel has been under fire for not reporting the 2007 complaint to police. College president retired Lt. Lt. Gen. John Rosa said last month the college lost public trust by not doing more.

The college received a complaint in 2007 about an alleged incident five years earlier at the camp where ReVille, a 2002 Citadel graduate, was serving as a counselor.

According to documents released by the college last month, the victim said the counselor lured campers into his room with Chinese food and pizza. There he showed pornographic videos and the counselor and campers masturbated together.

ReVille later went on to work with hundreds of children as a teacher and coach in Charleston area schools, recreation programs and churches. He was arrested in October.

In a redacted deposition, the victim said he didn't want any trouble for The Citadel but that the incident had "put him in a hole" and "I do expect some sort of compensation." The victim did not go to the police.

One November, 2007, e-mail from Brandenburg indicated the college discussed a $20,000 settlement with the former camper "who promised to provide me with documentation with which we could reach a financial settlement. However, I have not heard from him since."

College spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said Thursday that Brandenburg would not be available for interviews.

ReVille is in jail on a $1.4 million bond and his attorney, Craig Jones, said at an earlier bond hearing his client is "extremely remorseful" for the pain he has caused.

The camp, which once hosted as many as 500 children each summer, closed in 2006 after The Citadel reached a $3.8 million settlement with five campers who alleged they had been sexually abused by Marine Capt. Michael Arpaio.

Arpaio, a counselor between 1995 and 2001, pleaded guilty to various charges in 2003 following a military court-martial and served 15 months at the Charleston Naval Brig.

The other documents released Wednesday were e-mails from Brandenburg trying to get in touch with former campers and counselors to find out about the allegations about ReVille.

Rosa has said the Citadel tried to contact other campers mentioned by the victim, but they did not want to speak. He said ReVille had a clean background check, was a decorated Citadel cadet and denied the allegations at the time.