A CSU department head and two staffers were charged with one felony count of forgery each on Monday for alleged financial misconduct.
Jeffrey Wilusz, head of the Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology Department, has been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 30 along with two other department staffers, Janice Riegel and Esta Saffer.
Riegel is an assistant to Wilusz, and Saffer is the office manager for the pathology facility.
Wilusz, 47, faces one to three years on the felony charge, said Linda Jensen, district attorney spokeswoman.
He was also charged with one misdemeanor count of official misconduct.
“We’re surprised that the charges were filed,” said Wilusz’s attorney, Linda Miller. “He fully cooperated with the investigation. He had no financial gain.”
The CSU Police Department conducted the investigation, but Miller’s not sure if other agencies were also involved.
Details of the charges were not readily available, and Miller said that even she is awaiting discovery, the process where the prosecution informs the defense of details of the case and evidence it has against the defendant.
“At this stage, we’re in the same boat with you, we’re waiting to see why they think there may be some wrongdoing,” she said.
Wilusz, who received his doctorate from Duke University, is technically on “special leave,” – a distinction made because he is a tenured faculty member. But functionally, his leave is the same as those placed on “administrative leave.”
The MIP department boasts some of the finest biomedical research centers in the nation, according to its Web site.
The department head posted a $2,500 bond and his next court date is set for Nov. 1.
Miller warned people against rushing to judgment.
“It’s premature to even discuss the case,” she said. “From the standpoint of the Constitution, he is not guilty. That’s the premise we start with.”
News managing editor Vimal Patel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pull-quote: “He fully cooperated with the investigation. He had no financial gain,” – Linda Jensen, defense attorney