Campus Crisis: Kelly, Sean, Thomas

Campus Cover Up?

"My sister was just always a happy, very compassionate, very helpful person," Sean says. "She was a very shy girl. You had to really get to know her in order for her to really open up to you. And then, one day, she's gone, because of some monsters. It's disgusting. I have a lot of hatred toward all the attackers. I don't think it'll ever change. They ruined three lives. They walk around still living a normal life when my sister's dead, and we still feel the affects of that every day. There's a number of things I'd like to see happen. I'd like to see them in prison. This crime, it ruins people, it ruins families, it ruins lives. It takes lives."

Back onstage, Dr. Phil clarifies, "Gloria, I have to ask a few factual questions that have me a bit befuddled. First off, this happened in a dorm room, or Megan's dorm room?"

"This happened in a dorm room, not in Megan's dorm room," she says.

"So I assume that was sealed off and became a crime scene?" he asks.

"Well, what's interesting is, to the best of our knowledge, that crime scene, that room, was never even investigated by the police, by the Orangetown Police Department," Gloria says.

Dr. Phil asks Cynthia about a bizarre twist in Megan's story. "Tell me about this sex sign that was held up for the cameras. What do you know about that?"  

"Megan and myself, [on our] second visit with the detective, my daughter was told to sign a piece of white paper [that said] ‘I want to have sex' and to sign her name. By the detective, he told her to do that," Cynthia reports. "We asked why, and you know, Megan's look was, like, frazzled. She's, like, ‘Why?' And he was like, ‘You'll see.'

 

"He proceeded to show us hallway surveillance that they had taken off the hallway cameras. Where the sign comes in is where you see my daughter led into a room by one attacker, and then two others join during the period of time, and what seems to go on forever, and then eventually, one of the assailants comes out into the hallway directing a poster, I call, at the end of the hallway, at the camera, which he clearly knows is there, and he's doing a little dance with it toward the camera that says, ‘I want to have sex,' and it's supposedly signed by my daughter. And he brings it out there after they're done with her."

"We're not sure if the person who did hold it up was in fact one of the assailants," Gloria clarifies.

"Is this supposed to be some type of defense?" Dr. Phil asks, incredulous.

"Well, I don't know if the police think so, but as a matter of law, it isn't," Gloria says. "First of all, we have compared that signature with the ‘I want to have sex' sign with her signature on her roommate application to Dominican College, and there is a substantial difference." The two signatures are shown on the large screen behind them. "If Megan did sign that, it looks like somebody did not have the capacity to consent;  [somebody] who was under the influence of something. Even the Dominican Code of Conduct says that a signed consent is not an absolute defense to rape.

 

"We have a major concern because ultimately, at some point, we found that one of the detectives was in fact on the payroll of the college," Gloria says. "That is the detective to whom they had been referred. Now, we think that affects, Dr. Phil, the integrity of the investigation."

Megan's friend, Kelly, took her to the hospital the next day. "We both went to Dominican College freshman year together, so we were very close," Kelly says, standing on a campus lawn. "Behind me is Hertel Hall, and this is where the rape allegedly occurred. It was actually the last Saturday of school, so we were all partying. There were four or five guys that I didn't know, and I honestly didn't feel comfortable around them, so I had left. The next morning, Megan pulled me into her room to tell me that she was raped. She kept on saying, ‘I can't believe I let this happen to myself. It's all my fault.'"

 

Kelly adds, "I was not contacted at all by the police department, by the school or anyone, until a little bit over a year after Megan passed away. If they took action, I know that Megan would be here today. I know she would."


"What did she say to you?" Dr. Phil asks Kelly.

"I was walking down the hallway that Sunday morning. She pulled me into her room, said, ‘Kelly, I have something to tell you.' I said OK, expecting her to say, like, ‘Let's get ready for finals.' Instead, it was ‘I think I was raped last night.' And I was in complete shock. You don't expect this to happen to your friends, anyone close to you," she says.

"You had been with her earlier that night, right? You guys were at a party?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Yes," she says. "The party was on campus, on the same floor that Megan lived on."

"So you didn't like what was going on there, or the people who were there," he says. 

"I personally had left the party earlier because there were a couple guys there I didn't know. I had heard things about them I didn't like, and I didn't want to associate myself with them, so I left the party because I personally didn't feel comfortable with those people," she says.

"I guess my key question about this, from every parent perspective, is when we send our kids off to college, that's a great moment, that's a great event, and we expect them to go to college, and be happy, and be safe, and prepare themselves for life and come back better young men and women than they were," Dr. Phil says. "We don't expect them to go off and become victims to crime on campus, in a dorm, by " were these alleged assailants students?"

"Two were students and one was a guest," Gloria says. "We feel that we had a right to expect that Megan would be safe, that there would be security in the dorm. They have a dry campus policy. Why was there any alcohol and/or narcotics in the dorm? In addition, they have residence advisors. When that sign, ‘I want to have sex,' was held up to the security camera, why didn't a residence advisor come and explore it? ‘What's going on? Is something wrong? Is somebody in danger?' The raw footage that the college had from the security camera apparently has been destroyed!"

"That makes no sense," Dr. Phil says.

The president of The Campus Safety Zone and author of the book, Protect Yourself at College, Thomas Kane, says sexual assaults can be prevented.

"We do expect our kids to go to college and be safe, but it doesn't always happen that way," Dr. Phil says to Thomas.

"Not at all, and that's the message I try to get out, Dr. Phil," Thomas says. "I really commend your guests being here, because it's very, very important that parents across the country understand Megan's story and learn from this, and hopefully by their presence here, they will be able to keep themselves safer."

Thomas says there are five things that college students need to do if they are sexually assaulted. "I always say get to the hospital. Call the police from the hospital. What Megan did was perfect," he says. "At the hospital, the doctor or nurse there would have a rape kit available. The rape kit is very important because it offers biological as well as physical evidence if a girl has a sexual assault on her. Certainly with a urine and drug test that they would perform, if there is a date rape drug that was ingested or consumed somehow, within a small 12- to 24-hour period it can be detected." Thomas also says victims shouldn't bathe or change clothes after the assault, because this can wash away evidence.

Dr. Phil tells Cynthia, "You have brought a great spotlight onto this issue, and I so appreciate you doing that. I know it would be easier to sit home and not do this. I know it would be easier not to pursue these people."

"It's for my Meg. She would've wanted for this to at least bring change about for someone else," she says.

"And we want all colleges now, as a result of our case, we want all colleges to take the measures they're required to take under the law so that all of our students will be safe on campus," Gloria says.

If you or someone you know is a victim of rape, call (800) 656-HOPE for help, support and instruction on what to do.