UConn professor faces firing in sex abuse case
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The University of Connecticut told two faculty members Thursday that it intends to dismiss them as the result of an investigation that found one had inappropriate contact with students and another failed to act properly after learning of wide-ranging sexual misconduct allegations against his colleague.
The letters sent to music professor Robert Miller and former fine arts dean David Woods mark the start of disciplinary proceedings, in which they can request hearings to dispute the allegations.
The independent investigation began last year after it became more widely known that Miller had been accused of abusing children in Virginia and Connecticut in the 1960s and 1990s. Miller, who was suspended in June, has not been charged with a crime. Police are still investigating.
He and Woods haven’t responded to messages left by The Associated Press.
The report presented Wednesday to the university’s board of trustees found that while no UConn students were victims of crimes, Miller engaged in rampant misconduct and violations of school policy. It said Miller, 66, took students on overnight trips to Vermont, danced in his underwear with a student and behaved in a way that led upperclassmen to warn freshmen to avoid him.
“At this time, I am recommending dismissal of your employment with the university,” Dean Brid Grant wrote in the letter to Miller.
The investigation, led by the law firm of former White House counsel Scott Coffina, concluded UConn officials including Woods knew as early as 2003 that Miller had been accused of misconduct with children.
The report said officials put students at risk by not acting sooner but criticized Woods in particular. It said Woods was the only person who had the knowledge of all the allegations and authority to address them, but he did not take appropriate action beyond advising Miller in 2008 not to socialize with students.
Coffina, whose firm began the investigation in September, said he found evidence to support allegations that Miller inappropriately touched boys who attended Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Camp for sick children in Connecticut in the early 1990s, and a middle school student in Virginia in 1969. State police have said the statute of limitations has expired in the Connecticut cases but not for the Virginia allegations.