Elizabeth City, NC - Former Elizabeth State University Police Chief Sam Beamon was found guilty of not properly reporting crimes on campus in Pasquotank County. But according to court documents, Beamon won't have to spend a single night in jail.
Beamon pleaded No Contest to the charge of willful failing to discharge duties after police say he was not properly investigating crimes on campus. A Pasquotank County judge found Beamon guilty, but suspended his 45-day prison sentence, leaving him to do community service and probation for one year.
It was a result of a summer long investigation into ESCU, its campus police and Beamon himself. The investigation found the university failed to properly investigate 78 campus crimes, 12 of them being sexual assaults.
The investigation was launched after a former student, Katherine Lowe, claimed she was sexually assaulted in her dorm room and the University did nothing about it.
She exclusively tells NewsChannel 3 she believes Beamon's punishment doesn't fit the crime.
"I'm not surprised that he got a little slap on the wrist," Lowe said. "The end result was mediocre, it's just sad. They never offered me an apology. It was like I didn't exist and the situation didn't happen."
Since the investigation, the University's chancellor resigned, Lowe's alleged attacker was arrested and a new police chief was hired.
Today, the University declined to comment on Beamon's sentencing, but a spokesperson did release the following statement to NewsChannel 3 late Tuesday:
" ECSU improved its campus safety infrastructure by establishing stronger relationships with local law enforcement through Memorandum of Understanding agreements. We also implemented individualized Title IX and Clery training for faculty, students and staff and launched a new campus safety website. University Police also appointed two new police captains, one of which is a trained Clery coordinator who oversees the new Clery Compliance Committee. The university also adopted a new Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Dating Violence Policy (ECSU Policy 900.4.1.5), which incorporates the new statutory requirements under Title IX, Clery Act, Violence Against Women Act, Campus SaVE Act. The policy also comports with the guidance in the April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. The university also proudly launched a new Women's Center which works to prevent and raise awareness of sexual violence. The director for the Women's Center is a certified rape crisis counselor.
In April of 2014, a Special Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), our accrediting body, thoroughly reviewed the university's protocols related to campus safety, student complaints, Clery compliance, and Title IX. Following their review, the committee determined that the university had made significant improvements in the above referenced areas. As a result of these safety initiatives, SACSCOC commended the university for those improvements and invited ECSU staff to present its hard work as a "case study" on how to make campus safety improvements at its annual conference in December 2014.