$74k probe fails to find source of U of M sexual harassment leak

The independent investigation took about four months.
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Whoever leaked details about a sexual misconduct scandal at the University of Minnesota appears to have gotten away with it.

This is despite a lengthy – and costly – third-party probe into the controversy, which began in May after someone tipped off KSTP that a high-ranking athletics official had been accused of sexual harassment. 

On Thursday, the U of M's Board of Regents announced the completion of the review, and that its results were "inconclusive."

The university says it spent $74,400 and about 150 hours to find the source of the leak, which heaped a lot of unwanted attention on an athletics program already reeling from two recent high-profile scandals (namely, the Norwood Teague affair, and the sex assault case involving Gophers football players). 

The investigation, which was handled by a high-powered Minneapolis attorney, looked into "electronic mail and cell telephone records of Regents and other University personnel," and included interviews with people who had access to the leaked information, according to a statement from the U.

"Even if inconclusive," the university says, "this review demonstrates the University of Minnesota’s commitment to respecting the confidentiality of information concerning individuals within the University community."

The school "now considers the review to be closed."

Background

The leaked information concerned an internal investigation into alleged misconduct by Randel Handel, an associate athletics director and key Gophers fundraiser. 

The U eventually confirmed in a statement to KSTP that Handel had violated its sexual harassment policy, after an employee complained she was subjected to unwanted touching, hugging and inappropriate comments.

The subsequent investigation into who blabbed it to the media was controversial in its own right, however.

“It was a criminal waste of money,” Jim Carter, a former Gophers football player and once a candidate for the Board of Regents, told the Star Tribune on Thursday

He also told the paper the university would have "kicked (the harassment) under the rug and hid it" if not for the leak. 

As for Handel, he was demoted and suspended following the report. 

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