Former worker claims ISU president assaulted him

2014-03-01T10:45:00Z Former worker claims ISU president assaulted himMary Ann Ford
March 01, 2014 10:45 am  • 

NORMAL — A former Illinois State University superintendent of grounds has filed a police report alleging ISU President Timothy Flanagan assaulted him in December.

Contacted Friday, R. Patrick Murphy told The Pantagraph the incident occurred "in the course of performing my duties on university property." 

Murphy said shortly before 9 a.m. on Dec. 5 he was supervising a crew of seven aerating the yard at 1000 Gregory St., the ISU-owned home for university presidents.

According to a police report obtained by The Pantagraph, Murphy claims Flanagan came out of his house and shouted, "Where is he?"

Murphy said because he was supervising the crew he assumed Flanagan was looking for him, so he approached Flanagan.

"He cuts loose on me," Murphy said. "I've never had such a thing happen. I was shocked. I stood there in shock. He was right in my face; too close."

In his statement to police, Murphy said Flanagan's saliva hit him in the face, neck and clothing. At one point, Flanagan's arms struck Murphy's torso.

The report, filed late Thursday with ISU police, includes statements from six witnesses. ISU Police Capt. Nichol Bleichner said an investigation is underway; officers have yet to talk to Flanagan.

McLean County State’s Attorney Jason Chambers said Friday he was “made aware of the report today and that there’s an ongoing investigation.”

Murphy said he went through the proper channels to report the incident after it occurred, including contacting Chuck Scott, ISU's executive director of facilities management. Murphy said Scott was out of town at the time. When he did not hear back from Scott, Murphy said he spoke with others.

Scott referred all questions to ISU spokesman Jay Groves, who on Friday said it is a personnel matter and "the university does not comment on personnel matters."

But, he added, based on his information, "I have no reason to believe an assault occurred at or near the university residence." He added the university will fully cooperate with the investigation.

The police report includes the names of Scott; Debra Smitley, associate vice president of finance and planning; a superintendent of building services; and a superintendent of building maintenance as people who have knowledge of the incident.

"After I  heard nothing from anyone at the university, I contacted the state civil services office," Murphy said. He also talked with an attorney and wrote to each member of the ISU Board of Trustees.

Board chairman Michael McCuskey confirmed Friday the board is aware of the incident.

“The board received a letter about the incident but I have not seen the police report or any of the alleged charges,” said McCuskey, who serves as chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the Central District in Urbana.

McCuskey said his role with the judiciary precludes him from commenting on any state, federal or local charges. He declined to say if the matter has been discussed by the board.

Murphy said when he did not hear back from the trustees or anyone else at the university, he filed the police report.

"I just want my job back," said Murphy, adding he was fired on Dec. 10. He started July 15.

Edith Brady-Lunny contributed to this report.

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