CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Citadel Board of Visitors agreed Friday to hire two outside firms to handle an independent investigation of how the military college handled a 2007 complaint about a former camp counselor now serving 50 years in prison for molesting boys.
The board, after meeting three hours in executive session, agreed to hire MDB International of Alexandria, Va., and Anne Franke, who founded Wise Results LLC in Washington, D.C.
The investigation centers on how the college handled a complaint about Louis “Skip” ReVille, a Citadel graduate and former teacher who worked at schools, camps, churches and recreation programs in the Charleston area. He was sentenced in June after pleading guilty to 22 abuse counts.
The complaint alleged that, at The Citadel’s summer camp five years earlier, ReVille lured campers into his room with offers of Chinese food and pizza. There he showed pornographic videos and the counselor and campers allegedly masturbated together.
The college did an internal investigation but did not notify the police at the time. A civil lawsuit against the college by the family of one of ReVille’s victims alleges others would not have been harmed had the college taken action. The summer camp has been closed.
Columbia attorney Joe McCulloch was hired earlier this month as special counsel to handle the investigation. It will not only focus on what happened five years ago, but evaluate the college’s current policies.
MDB International is an internationally known investigative firm.
Franke is an expert in the area of protecting minors on campus and policy evaluation, McCulloch said.
He said the two firms, selected from a pool of 15, will handle the investigation and report their findings to him, which, in turn, he will deliver to the board.
“This institution wisely decided that while it was something I could have done, they wanted another degree of objectivity – another degree of arm’s length – to ensure the public this is going to be a completely objective evaluation,” he said.
He said he expects the investigation to begin next week.
He said he won’t have any contact with the administration or Board of Visitors except to periodically update them and hopes the work can be done before Christmas.
“This is a matter of public interest. It’s been very painful for the victims and painful for the institution. And it’s time to bring that to a close with the reassurance of the results of this investigation,” he said.