Nichols College president Glenn Sulmasy is on a voluntary leave of absence as the college engages in an independent, third-party investigation.
In a letter to alumni, the Nichols board of trustees said they became aware of information about Sulmasy's time at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and decided further investigation was necessary.
In July, CNN reported on cases of sexual assault at the academy. In one case, which launched a federal probe, the victim said she met with academy attorneys, including Sulmasy. The victim said she was discouraged from pursuing the issue any further. Sulmasy's attorney disputed the claim in CNN's report.
Nichols' vice president for advancement Bill Pieczynski is the school's acting president until further notice. The school said Sulmasy was unavailable for comment.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to Sulmasy’s attorney, Jeffrey Robbins of Saul Ewing LLP, who questioned the validity of the reporting about his client. Robbins said in a statement, "In July, CNN published a story claiming that in 2014, a former Coast Guard cadet had told investigators in connection with a general review of the Coast Guard’s internal procedures and historical performance that it was her recollection that in 1997, seventeen years earlier, President Sulmasy had been one of two Coast Guard lawyers with whom she had met at the Coast Guard Academy to discuss her assault by a fellow cadet. That story was not only wrong, but egregiously and demonstrably wrong, among other things because President Sulmasy was not even a lawyer until 1998 and because he was not at the Coast Guard Academy at the time.
"Nevertheless, because it is understandable that the Nichols College Board would want to conduct an investigation into the matter, President Sulmasy offered to voluntarily go on leave while the Board conducts its investigation, which the Board has represented it will conclude promptly. He hopes and expects that the investigation will be concluded in short order and, of course, he is cooperating fully with it."