By Cassandra Russo
A former superintendent of grounds maintenance at Illinois State University, R. Patrick Murphy, filed a police report Feb. 28 alleging former FSU president Timothy Flanagan assaulted him on Dec. 5, 2013.
Flanagan has been the president of Illinois State University since Aug. 15, 2013.
According to the police report obtained by an Illinois-based newspaper, The Pantagraph, misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and assault are listed as possible offenses. However, no charges have been filed against Flanagan at this time.
The police report states Illinois State grounds crew were aerating Flanagan’s lawn at his university-owned residence when Flanagan exited the house and yelled, “Where is he?”
According to The Pantagraph, the police report states Murphy approached Flanagan because he assumed he was looking for him, since he was supervising the grounds crew.
Murphy alleges in the police report that when he approached the ISU president, Flanagan got very close to his face, and his saliva hit Murphy in the face, neck and clothing. Flanagan’s arms also struck Murphy’s torso, the report alleges.
According to the ISU violence policy, “conduct that threatens the health or safety of any person, or creates a reasonable fear that such a result will occur ... will not be tolerated.”
The policy defines a threat as “words or actions which intimidate; harassment; stalking or following someone with the intent to harass, intimidate, harm, or cause other malicious activity.” Violation of this policy will result in termination of employment.
Murphy was fired on Dec. 10, 2013, five days after the alleged incident. He was hired at the university in July 2013.
Murphy told The Pantagraph he contacted Chuck Scott, ISU’s executive director of facilities
management, soon after the incident, but Scott was out of town at that time.
He said after he did not hear back from anyone at the university, he contacted the civil services office and “wrote to each member of the ISU Board of Trustees.”
Scott told a Pantagraph reporter, “I have no reason to believe an assault occurred at or near the university residence,” and the university would cooperate fully with the investigation.
On Monday, March 3, Flanagan’s lawyer, Stephanie Wong, released a statement in which she denied the allegations. “Dr. Flanagan did not engage in any criminal conduct against Mr. Murphy and maintains his innocence.”
Wong said, “The lengthy delay in reporting the alleged assault is reason alone to question the motives underlying his [Murphy’s] actions” and that Murphy contacted the media in order to “air his grievances.”
Murphy did not return a call placed by The Gatepost asking for comment.
In the police report, Murphy described Flanagan’s behaviors as a temper tantrum.
According to The Pantagraph, Flanagan characterized the complaint as a “desperate attempt to embarrass him and the university.”
Wong added Flanagan would not comment on the incident any further.
Flanagan was president of Framingham State from 2006-2013.