Mar 222009
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge

Former CSU Police Chief Dexter Yarbrough was placed on leave pending an investigation into his conduct over winter break on the heels of a sexual harassment complaint filed by a CSUPD employee, according to documents obtained last week by the Collegian.

Interim President Tony Frank mandated in a memo that Yarbrough go on paid leave on Dec. 19, nine days after the complaint was filed, according to a document log released last week by CSU officials.

The former chief resigned on March 6, just days after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and CSU’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity released the findings of their university-commissioned probe into his conduct.

Yarbrough did not return a phone call from the Collegian requesting comment on the sexual harassment charges.

CSU officials said none of the records produced by the investigation, which ended Feb. 16, would be released to the public, saying state and university personnel rules prohibit their release and to protect the integrity of future investigations.

In the two and a half months of Yarbrough’s leave from his $156,000-a-year position, he garnered about $33,000 from the university in pay.

During that time, a Collegian investigation found that Yarbrough had allegedly falsified police reports and routinely exhibited sexist and intimidating behavior toward his employees and students.

Audio recordings taken by one of his students in his criminal investigations class and turned in to the OEOD illustrate what sources describe as Yarbrough’s rogue and potentially illegal police behavior.

In one classroom lecture in spring 2008, Yarbrough advised his students — including many aspiring police officers — to provide illicit drugs to informants as payment for information.

“We may decide to give the informant 10 of those (crack cocaine) rocks. OK,” Yarbrough said to his criminal investigations class, for which he is additionally compensated as an adjunct instructor.

In the recording, one student sought clarification on the chief’s advice, saying:

“So if a police officer gives an informant 10 rocks of crack, and they end up in the hospital, are they responsible for it at that point? . Because I could just say the police gave it to me?”

To the student’s question, Yarbrough responded:

“Let me tell you what I would do: You give it to them, but you let them know that, hey, if you get caught with this, you know, don’t say my name. Or if they get sick or something, I never gave them those (drugs).

“Didn’t I tell you guys that sometimes the police lie? Didn’t I tell you guys that? If I didn’t, there you go.”

Frank told the Collegian earlier this month that the university will conduct a nation-wide search to replace Yarbrough. In the meantime, Interim CSUPD Chief Frank Johnson will hold the post.

The university also declined to release performance evaluations requested by the Collegian for Yarbrough and former CSU President Larry Penley, who resigned abruptly last semester amid a shroud of criticism.

“. please note that we may not produce performance evaluations because the Colorado Open Records Act prohibits the release of such personnel files,” said Amy Parsons, the deputy general counsel for CSU, in a letter to the Collegian.

Enterprise Editor J. David McSwane contributed to this report.

Development Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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