Former AG hired to investigate UNH's actions over alleged locker-room photography
DURHAM — An allegation about unwanted locker-room photography of the University of New Hampshire men's basketball team was first reported on Jan. 20, an entire month before police and top university officials were made aware of it, the UNH police chief said Thursday.
Police Chief Paul Dean stressed that the initial report was not made to law enforcement at either UNH or the University of Vermont, where the Wildcats played a game on Jan. 20. In the past, he has said an athlete told staff, but he would not identify the staff member on Thursday.
Dean's comments represent an official acknowledgement of when a report was made. A subsequent investigation led to the arrest of the part-time director of basketball operations, Scott A. Weitzell. Weitzell is at the center of a joint criminal investigation by UNH and UVM police into whether he used his cell phone to record images in the locker room used by UNH after the UVM game.
Meanwhile, the university announced late Wednesday that it has hired former New Hampshire Attorney General Michael Delaney to lead an investigation into the reporting delay.
UNH President Mark Huddleston has said he is deeply troubled by the misconduct and the month that it took for university administrators to find out about it.
In a four-paragraph statement released Wednesday, UNH said the Delaney investigation could expand to include the entire University System of New Hampshire. At this point, Delaney and the McLane law firm are only looking at the university's response to the alleged incidents of misconduct, the statement said.
"Mr. Delaney and his colleagues will have full access to necessary resources and personnel to ensure a thorough and timely investigation into the reporting delays," Huddleston said in the statement.
"Our students and their parents count on us to act swiftly and decisively when we learn of misconduct. We, in turn, count on every member of our campus community to report any and all forms of misconduct without delay," he said.
Senior university leadership found out about the matter on Feb. 20, the university has said.
"As soon as the athletic director (Marty Scarano) found out about it and reported it to the administration, it was simultaneously reported to me," Dean said.
Weitzell was arrested by Newmarket police on Feb. 21, when they visited his home to execute a search warrant. He is charged with resisting arrest and attempting to falsify physical evidence, after he allegedly tried to keep his cell phone from authorities.
The part-time director of basketball operations was banned from the campus on Feb. 21 and fired four days later.
The university has said that "senior leadership" moved quickly to address the matter once they became aware of it.
University spokesman Erika Mantz said the cost of the Delaney investigation won't be known until it is completed.