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'Justice for me was not an indictment:' David Boren, Tripp Hall won’t face indictments on sexual misconduct allegations during time at OU

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David Boren (copy) (copy)

Former OU President David Boren at his birthday celebration in April 2018. 

Former OU President David Boren and former university Vice President Tripp Hall will not face indictments after a lengthy investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

Special counsel Pat Ryan said in a Tuesday news release the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation had concluded its investigation of “alleged wrongful conduct while they were employed at the University of Oklahoma.” The news was first reported by The Oklahoman.

“I’m obviously not surprised, and I’m eased only to the extent that I know that this is … it’s over,” Clark Brewster, Boren’s attorney, told The Daily on Tuesday. “This was started maliciously two-and-a-half years ago by (former OU President James) Gallogly, this started off with just an outsized vengeance by Mr. Gallogly who actually was quoted as saying ‘He’s the meanest S-O-B that Mr. Boren ever encountered and he will destroy him.’”

The OSBI investigation began in the spring of 2019, shortly after NonDoc reported that OU graduate and former university employee Jess Eddy accused Boren and Hall of unwanted sexual touching. A report by the Jones Day law firm later found that Eddy’s account of the sexual misconduct to be “generally credible,” and OU later confirmed to Eddy he had been subjected to a “hostile” working environment while employed at OU during its own Title IX investigation.

An independent lawsuit was filed by Levi Hilliard, another former OU student and employee who accused Hall of “multiple instances” of sexual assault and battery, but the suit was later settled.

Boren, a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator who served as OU president from 1994 to 2018, denied wrongdoing throughout the process. However, he did cut remaining ties with the university — including his position as a political science instructor, free tickets to sporting events and a campus office and parking space — in June 2019.

Eddy said although an indictment will not be seen, he will be pleased if his story helps measures be taken at OU to keep students safe from sexual crime in the future.

"The fact is David Boren preyed on young men at OU for decades. Many experienced much greater trauma than me," Eddy said in a statement to media. "Justice for me was not an indictment, but rather that the truth prevail and measures be taken at OU to ensure this never happens again ... if that end was met, much of my objective has been accomplished."

Brewster said he expects Boren to publicly address the investigation’s findings at some point in the future.

“Well, I think he will (speak publicly at some point soon),” Brewster said. “It’s the dawn of a new day for (Boren and his wife, Molly), and hopefully his reputation will be what it was, and people will admire him as they should for all of the great things he’s done for the University of Oklahoma, as well as the state of Oklahoma and the United States as U.S. senator.”

Eddy said reform at OU to prevent sexual violence will not be possible as long as those he said helped facilitate Boren's "predation" remain in leadership positions at the university.

"Today, President Joseph Harroz, General Counsel Anil Gollahalli and Clarke Stroud maintain positions of power and influence at OU," Eddy said, "and no student or employee is safe under their administration."

Harroz has previously worked closely with Boren in several positions, including as Boren's legislative director while Boren was serving as a U.S. senator and as OU's vice president of executive affairs and legal counsel during much of Boren's presidency. 

Eddy said he was grateful to the law enforcement officials and media members who provided "human treatment in the darkest period" of his life.

The university issued a brief statement to the media at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"From the beginning, the university sought a thorough and objective investigation, cooperating extensively with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation at every turn," the statement read. "The university appreciates the work of the OSBI and of the Grand Jury."

Editor's note: This story was updated at 12:50 p.m. to include a statement to media from Jess Eddy.

Editor's note: This story was updated at 1 p.m. to include a statement to media from the university.

Blake Douglas joined the OU Daily news desk in October 2018, and is currently the news managing editor. Previously, Blake has served as an intern reporter, senior news reporter and summer news editor.

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