The University of Michigan-Dearborn suspended an officer on Jan. 30 after they discovered he was the whistleblower who reached out to multiple sources about an alleged sexual allegation cover-up on campus in Nov. 2019.
The officer, identified as William Ashford by the Detroit News, sent an e-mail to the Detroit News and the Board of Regents back in November about the alleged cover-up. Ashford told the Detroit News that “he was worried the school was not properly investigating a student’s claim that a lecturer had sexually assaulted her.”
“It is imperative we consider the message we send to the victim when we fail to properly report and investigate, because that failure sends a clear message… that we don’t care,” was written in that e-mail from the whistleblower (now identified as Ashford) to the Detroit News and the Board of Regents, as mentioned in a previously-published article by the Michigan Journal.
Ashford is being suspended for 10 days, as of Jan. 30.
The following is an excerpt from the email written by UM-Dearborn Chief of Police Gary Gorski to Ashford, as reported by the Detroit News:
“You made claims to the Detroit News that UM Dearborn Department of Public Safety was involved in a cover-up… Your disclosures resulted in media coverage that could compromise the fairness of the adjudication process for the defendant and hinder efforts to hold the defendant accountable… Such unauthorized disclosures are disruptive to the orderly and efficient operation of both the department and other agencies engaged with the department on the underlying matter.”
Ashford referred the questions regarding the current suspension and other details to the business agent for the Michigan Police Officers Association Union, according to the Detroit News.
According to his LinkedIn, Ashford became an officer at UM-Dearborn in May 2017 and is a “veteran law enforcement officer of twenty plus years.”
A dispatcher at the UM-Dearborn campus safety office told the Michigan Journal they could not comment on the situation because “they are unfamiliar with it.”
UM-Dearborn Deputy Chief of Police James Knittel, Gorski, and Ashford could not immediately be reached for comment.