Police report provides details about accusations made against vice president
By Tavis Evans
Chemeketa was rocked again this week by information alleging a possible sexual assault by vice president Patrick Lanning.
In a report released by the Port of Portland ‘s police department and provided to the Courier by the Statesman Journal, details are provided about what took place after a night of late-night drinking by at least some individuals took a wrong term.
The report includes interviews with multiple witnesses, including Susan Murray, the college’s executive dean of academic advancement, Manuel Guerra, the dean of Student Retention and College Life, and David Hallett, the executive dean of General Education. All three attended, along with several other Chemeketa employees, a student success conference in Portland on Feb. 6.
Lanning, who is on paid administrative leave, has not been charged with a crime. The report states that he did not cooperate with investigators. Forensics was redacted from the released police report
In the report , a unidentified female college employee who has filed a tort claim against Lanning said that after the first day of the conference, a group of colleagues went to dinner at a restaurant where alcoholic drinks were consumed. The group then went to the hotel bar.
At the hotel bar, she said that things “got fuzzy.”
The woman said in the report that Lanning sat next to her in the bar area and started rubbing her back and upper thigh with his hand. He also purchased and encouraged her to consume additional drinks in front of fellow college employees.
The woman said that what was occurring made her uncomfortable, but she did not say out loud for Lanning to stop. The woman said that Guerra asked if she were OK; he also offered to escort her to her room. Where she told Guerra that she felt uncomfortable with what had transpired, Guerra brought Murray to the woman’s room to talk with her.
Murray said that when she went to the woman’s room, the woman was upset, crying and hysterical, and she told Murray that she was “very upset Patrick was going to come here.”
Guerra said that the telephone in the room began ringing and that when Murray answered the phone, no one on the other end answered back.
Murray said that what had happened at the bar was inappropriate because of Lanning’s position at the college and the power differential between the woman and Lanning. Murray then instructed the woman that she did not have to answer the phone or open her door to anyone.
Murray then offered to let the woman stay in her hotel room, but the woman declined the offer because she wanted to stay in her own room. Guerra and Murray then left the room.
The woman said that after Guerra and Murray left, she was unsure what happened afterward. She said she heard a knock on the door and assumed but was not certain that that it was Lanning. The amount of alcohol in her system and the shock of what had happened at the bar made her “not all there” that night, she said.
However, she said in the report that she woke up at 6 a.m. and found what she believed to be Lanning’s reading glasses on the coffee. She identified them as Lanning’s because they were broken, and Lanning had told the group that his glasses were broken. She later threw away the glasses in a garbage container in her hotel room.
Guerra and Murray both said they remembered Lanning saying that an arm was broken on his glasses.
The woman also said that waking up naked, which was unusual because she normally slept in pajamas.
At approximately 8 a.m., Guerra knocked on the woman’s door and asked if she was OK. She said she was not and indicated that Lanning had come into her room during the night. Guerra summoned Murray, and the woman told Murray what she believed had transpired.
Murray told the woman that she would discuss the incident with other supervisors who were present at the conference and also would instruct Lanning not to contact her.
Chemeketa dean David Hallett said that he met with other administrators who attended the conference and went to talk with Lanning regarding the incident. He said that Jim Eustrom, another dean, relayed the following message to Lanning: “We understand you went to her room and she is distraught. We have a responsibility to protect her. We request you don’t contact her.”
Lanning replied, “I can’t believe it.”
According to the report, Lanning told the deans that he had been invited into the woman’s hotel room and that they had discussed it before he got there. Lanning then said he was sorry for putting everyone into this situation and left the conference.
At the end of the police interview, a Port of Portland detective said to the woman, “It appears from what you are telling us that if there was intercourse between the both of you, there was no consent. Right?
The woman replied, “Not that I know of. If there was, I have no recollection of the room other than the felling he was there.” The Courier has made numerous attempts to reach Lanning for comment, including numerous phone calls and emails that have been unanswered.
Lanning has been on paid administrative leave for 100 days.
To date, he has collected $46,207.39 in salary and benefits from the college while administrators determine next steps in the case.
President Cheryl Roberts said Monday that the college was in the process of making a final decision.