Truman State professors accused of sexual assault

Kirksville — Law officers are investigating two professors suspended by Truman State University on Wednesday in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a student.

Sheriff Randy Forquer said officers are investigating the student's claims.

A university press release announced the suspensions Wednesday, but did not say who the professors were or what they are accused of.

The suspensions come after an off-campus incident in late August, the release stated.

After an internal investigation, Lanny Morley, vice president for academic affairs, has recommended the two professors be discharged of their duties.

No names have been released, but three hours after news of the suspensions, two classes were told that their instructors are changing.

Heinz Woehlk, language and literature division head, visited argumentation on Wednesday evening.

He told students a new instructor would teach the class normally instructed by David Williams, an associate professor of communication.

"I told them the professor is not going to be there for a while, and I wanted them to know there is going to be a qualified instructor taking over the class," Woehlk said.

The Television Broadcasting Lab also learned Wednesday evening that a new instructor would replace Johnny Langley, an associate professor of communication.

Langley would not comment on his status with the university. Langley's lawyer, William Phillips, said he and his client are working with the university.

"We are cooperating with Truman State University and the investigation," Phillips said. "We expect in the end he will be completely vindicated."

Williams could not be reached for comment.

The investigation includes a third professor, the University release stated.

Warren Wells, Truman's general counsel, only said the school is not taking action at the present time.

"It's a bad situation for everyone involved," Woehlk said. "My focus and the new instructors' focus is to make certain the class maintains its academic integrity."

The university is withholding the suspended professors' names under Missouri Sunshine Law. The school legally can close records and meetings about employees when personal details are involved.

The suspended professors have 10 days to appeal the university's internal actions. If they fight the charges, the school's tenure committee will hear the case.

Until the situation is resolved, the two professors will earn full pay and benefits, the school's memo stated.

Forquer said his office, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Department of Public Safety are jointly investigating the alleged sexual assault.

Forquer would not give details about the reported incident, but did say laboratory workers are currently processing forensic evidence.

Forquer said he has turned the case over to the Adair County Prosecutor's Office.

By late Wednesday, no charges were filed in Adair County Associate Circuit Court.

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