UNI professor on leave; allegations of sexual abuse - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UNI professor on leave; allegations of sexual abuse

Posted:

CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -- A University of Northern Iowa music professor has been placed on paid leave after allegations of past sexual abuse in the 1990's.

Brad Barrett is an assistant professor in choral conducting and music education. Thursday, an alleged victim spoke out in an attempt, he says, to warn other potential abuse victims.

The university said it didn't know until Thursday about any past allegations. They're included in a civil lawsuit alleging Barrett molested a boy while teaching high school in Missouri in the 1990's.  When school officials heard about it, they immediately placed Barrett on paid leave while the school investigates further.

Thursday afternoon, the alleged victim, Adam Walker of Kansas City, Missouri spoke to reporters about a federal lawsuit he's filed against Barrett.  He says Barrett abused him while he was a teenager attending high school.  He says he's coming forward now because he couldn't live in silence anymore. He says he wants others to know what happened to prevent any more abuse.

"He's still surrounding himself with young adults, teenagers," said Walker.  "For me to even fathom the fact that a junior high or high schoolers may have to go through what I went through... I can't do that."

Barrett's attorney issued a statement to KWWL Thursday saying Walker should not use the media to try the case.  he says Walker is "disregarding professor Barrett's constitutionally protected rights by attempting to inflame public opinion against him."

School officials wouldn't go on camera but said the university will hold accountable those whose actions violate the law or university conduct policies.

Barrett was supposed to respond to the federal lawsuit against him Thursday. However, the court granted an extension until April 27th.

UNI statement:  "On Apr. 16, 2009, the University of Northern Iowa learned of a civil lawsuit against Bradley Barrett, an assistant professor with the School of Music.  This complaint was officially filed in the state of Missouri on Nov. 18, 2008 by plaintiff Adam Walker.

Given the nature of this suit, Barrett has been placed on paid leave effective immediately to allow further investigation on behalf of the university.

The university will hold accountable those individuals whose actions violate the law or university conduct policies."

Statement on behalf of Brad Barrett:  "We regret that Mr. Walker has chosen to act outside of the appropriate forum for resolution of this matter.   As all Americans know, a person accused of any misconduct is presumed innocent until such allegations have been proven in a court of law.    The judicial system, rather than the media, is the appropriate and Constitutionally guaranteed forum for resolution of these disputes because the judicial system properly recognizes the interests of all parties and not merely the party who has chosen to organize a press conference.   It is unfortunate that Mr. Walker has chosen to disregard Professor Barrett's Constitutionally protected rights by attempting to inflame public opinion against him."  - David Bell, Wyrsch Hobbs & Mirakian P.C.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

Powered by Frankly