CNU president on Jesse Matthew and sexual assault

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — The president of Christopher Newport University is talking only to 10 On Your Side about Jesse Matthew’s time at the Newport News university.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., 32, was charged last week with abduction with intent to defile in the case of 18-year-old Hannah Graham, a University of Virginia student, who was last seen on Sept. 13 after she attended a party in Charlottesville.

Matthew was also linked, just this week, to the unsolved death of another young woman who vanished from UVa.’s campus five years ago, and perhaps an unsolved rape from years before. Now, investigators in several Virginia jurisdictions are revisiting abduction and disappearance cases to see if there are links to Matthew; that includes Newport News detectives investigating two women who disappeared just miles from campus while Matthew attended CNU.

Matthew attended CNU from January 2003 to October 2003, and was also briefly on the football team there. He left the team five days after he was accused of sexual assault on September 7, 2003 by another student, and he left the school one month after that.

“The matter was thoroughly investigated by University Police. No physical injuries were reported. The victim chose not to proceed with a criminal prosecution,” said university spokesman Bruce Bronstein.

“I can’t speak to the disciplinary action we took because I would violate federal law, but I can tell you very soon after that event Mr. Matthew was gone,” CNU President Paul Trible told WAVY.com in his office on campus.

Trible said he does not remember Jesse Matthew.

“No, all I can say is the matter was reported to CNU … he would leave shortly after that,” Trible said.

At the time, behavior problem with some players on the football team led President Trible to address the team in person.

“I said, ‘gentlemen we expect you to be good citizens on this campus. We expect you to respect the people on this campus, and I’m not going to tolerate problems. If problems continue, I am going to end this team. I started football [here] and I will bring it to an end,'” Trible said.

After that speech, Matthew was off the football team, and one month later out of the school. President Trible talked about how that departure could have followed Matthew.

“CNU is one of the only schools that when somebody is expelled or suspended, we stamp that on their transcript so other schools know why they left our school,” he said.

10 On Your Side asked Trible if that stamp was put on Matthew’s transcript.

“We cannot talk about Mr. Matthew’s records because of federal law. However, the process that we always follow is to prominently report on academic transcripts when people have been suspended or expelled from CNU, the date, and reason why,” he said.

Trible added, “If someone is found to have committed an egregious act, like sexual abuse, they are gone.”

When asked if that happened to Matthew, Trible said, “All I can say is that this is the way we handle these events.”

WAVY.com also interviewed Newport News Police Chief Richard Myers, who said there is no record with the NNPD about the CNU assault because the department was not called for any assistance in the matter.

“We have no record indicating we were involved in that investigation … I wouldn’t say we are better able to investigate a crime. CNU has its own fully certified department. We have the kind of working relationship where if they need us, they will ask, and they know we will be there. Similarly, if we need their assistance, we can request that from them,” Chief Myers said.

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