Gov. Nikki Haley today called The Citadel’s bungling of a 2007 complaint against admitted molester Louis “Skip” ReVille unacceptable and said she wants steps taken to ensure a similar debacle doesn’t happen in the future.
Haley said she has spoken to Citadel President John Rosa about the matter and wants answers as to why the military college failed to report a teen’s complaint accusing ReVille of hosting porn and masturbation sessions with boys at the school’s summer camp in 2002.
“At the time an incident like this occurs, anyone in a position of authority with information has a responsibility to turn it over to law enforcement,” Haley said. “That didn’t happen here, which is totally unacceptable, and we need to find out why.”
Meanwhile, state Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, has pre-filed legislation that would require anyone who has information about potential child sexual abuse to report it to authorities. Current South Carolina law only requires certain professions, including teachers and medical professionals, to report.
“As a former prosecutor, I know that South Carolina must do all we can to protect our most innocent people,” said McCoy. “In light of the tragedies affecting the alleged young victims at Penn State University and the Citadel and numerous new allegations across our state, it is imperative that anyone and everyone given information of child sexual abuse report.”
The Citadel has endured withering criticism this week after acknowledging that it mishandled the 2007 complaint. The Citadel never informed police of the complaint, and ReVille went on to work with hundreds of children before his arrest Oct. 28 in Mount Pleasant on molestation charges.
He now stands accused of molesting five boys and police have indicated more charges are on the way.
Documents released by The Citadel this week show the school was told that ReVille allegedly lured male campers into his room in 2002 with the promise of Chinese food or pizza and then enticed them into watching porn on his computer while they masturbated. A school attorney’s notes also include allegations that ReVille might have showered with boys. None of that information was shared with police at the time.
Instead, the school plotted legal strategy and considered floating a $20,000 settlement offer to the teen who filed the complaint, documents show.
Rosa has publicly apologized for the school’s handling of the 2007 complaint and urged cadets to cooperate with a Charleston police investigation of ReVille, who was senior counselor at the camp. “We should have done more,” he told cadets Tuesday. “We know that.”
If passed, McCoy’s amendments to the state’s reporting law would require any “person in this State (who) has received information which gives the person reason to believe that a child has been or may be abused or neglected” to report to the Department of Social Services or local law enforcement.
The legislation would not change the penalty of failing to report, which is a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in prison.
McCoy, a former 9th Circuit assistant solicitor, said the bill is critical to give voices to those who may not have the courage to speak for themselves. “Unfortunately, I have had to fight for victims of such abuse as a prosecutor. The pain and fear the victims have, in many cases, is known by others who are simply unfamiliar with what to do,” he said. “My legislation makes it very clear: if you know, you must report and give a potential victim the strength they need.”