AFTER BOMBSHELL REPORT, LAFAYETTE POLICE AND UL REFUSE TO SAY IF SEX CRIMES ARE NOW BEING REPORTED
May 28, 2021
Lafayette Police repeatedly failed to notify UL administrators of student sex crime allegations over three years ending in 2018, disregarding an agreement with the university that arose from state law.
That is according to a bombshell USA Today report on Wednesday detailing how a student, Daniel Silva, bounced between three Louisiana public universities, leaving a trail of sex crime allegations at every stop.
University administrators and local police agencies repeatedly failed to disclose allegations against Silva, as intended in a 2015 law, known as Act 172, according to the USA Today report.
The USA Today report covers Lafayette Police actions under a previous chief and city-parish administration. Whether or not the department is currently reporting student sex crimes to the university is unclear, although the 2017 memorandum of understanding that requires such notifications remains in effect.
Spokespersons for the police department and Lafayette Consolidated Government on Thursday referred questions to city-parish lawyers, who did not respond. A UL administrator, Jennifer Stephens, would not say if the police department is notifying the university of student sex crime allegations. Stephens referred the question back to the police department, which is part of LCG.
Silva eventually graduated from UL in 2020, after six women accused him of sex crimes while he was enrolled at LSU, UL and Louisiana Tech. Silva’s graduation followed his second stint at UL, with the first lasting from 2015 to 2018.
Three of Silva’s accusers went to Lafayette Police while he was at UL, according to the report. A fourth did as well after an alleged offense that happened in Lafayette while Silva was at LSU. None of the four allegations known to Lafayette Police were disclosed to UL.
The university knew of only a single allegation against Silva at the time of his graduation, the administration told USA Today. That was a rape allegation in Baton Rouge in 2015, shortly after Silva transferred to UL from LSU. The alleged rape occurred when Silva was visiting former classmates.
Silva’s subsequent arrest was reported in the media, but he was not charged. UL placed him on probation, and the administration never received the additional reports of sexual misconduct.
Two of the Lafayette allegations came after the January 2017 signing of a memorandum of understanding requiring Lafayette Police to notify the university of “any report” of a sex crime involving a UL student. That agreement was a requirement of Act 172, which calls for local police and universities to cooperate on sex crime investigations.
It is not clear why Lafayette Police did not comply with the memorandum of understanding. A Lafayette Consolidated Government spokesperson, Jamie Angelle, told USA Today that notifying the university would have been a mistake, because the allegations were “unsubstantiated.”
“It would be improper, if not unlawful, to report unsubstantiated allegations, which by definition do not fall within the scope of the MOU,” Angelle told the publication.
Angelle declined comment Thursday when asked how the agreement precludes reporting unsubstantiated allegations, and what constitutes substantiation.
Stephens, the UL administrator, would not say if the university interprets the agreement to require notification in every circumstance. She provided a copy of the document, which says nothing about excluding reports based on substantiation.
The agreement requires the police department to notify UL of “any report of a sexually oriented criminal offense that may have occurred on its campus or involved a student as a victim or an accused and to promote the proper methods of preservation of evidence.”
The notification requirement contains a vague confidentiality exception, but the USA Today report does not include any explanation from Angelle as to how the exception might have applied to Silva allegations.
The Lafayette police chief at the time, Toby Aguillard, said in a text message Thursday that he had not seen the USA Today article, and that he was “not in a position to investigate what may or may not have happened.”
Aguillard served as chief from 2016 to 2020, leaving shortly after Mayor-President Josh Guillory took office. Guillory replaced Aguillard with the current chief, Thomas Glover, who did not respond to USA Today’s queries, according to the report. Guillory, prior to being elected, briefly served as Silva's lawyer during the police investigations.
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