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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Idaho AD has leave extended as probe into sexual assault handling continues

Idaho athletic director Rob Spear has been on paid administrative leave for nearly two months, and the school announced on Thursday that the leave will be extended indefinitely as an investigation continues into the way the athletic department handled sexual assault and harassment cases.

According to Chadd Cripe of The Idaho Statesman, the University of Idaho said in a statement that the leave will continue until the “external review into how the athletics department handled past allegations of sexual assault is completed, the report has been reviewed and a decision is made on Spear’s employment status.”

“It is never easy to examine one’s own actions critically,” Idaho President Chuck Staben said in the press release. “We know we have made improvements in how we approach sexual assault allegations but we need to know that we are doing all we can to keep our students safe. That is our No. 1 priority.”

Idaho announced on April 3 that it is investigating “process failures” within the athletic department stemming from the way sexual assault cases were handled in 2012 and 2013. Mairin Jameson, a former diver at the school, and former Idaho distance runner Maggie Miller reported six instances of harassment by former Vandals wide receiver Jahrie Level to police and athletic department staffers in April 2013. The Idaho Statesman began examining how the case was handled after Jameson wrote about it on a friend’s Tumblr blog earlier this year.

Given some of the disturbing claims we have seen made against university athletic departments in recent months, it is no surprise Idaho is taking its time with the investigation.

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