The state will hire an outside law firm to help the University of Connecticut investigate its response to allegations that music professor Robert Miller committed sexual misconduct with university students and also has molested children off campus, including several boys who attended a camp for sick children.
The Connecticut Attorney General's Office is seeking bids from a law firm to advise and represent UConn's Board of Trustees. The trustees have called on Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen to retain a law firm to "oversee and direct a review into how allegations may have been handled by university personnel prior to 2013," according to the university.
Proposals from law firms are due July 29, according to the Hartford Courant. A university spokesperson told the paper that UConn has budgeted $250,000 to pay for the legal work, but the figure could increase as the investigation moves forward.
UConn President Susan Herbst has directed the university's general counsel to coordinate the internal response to this matter. UConn GC Richard Orr has held the post since 2012. According to the university website, he came to UConn from an architecture and engineering firm, where he served as vice president and general counsel.
He previous served as senior counsel to then-Connecticut House Speaker Thomas Ritter and as an attorney at the now-defunct Connecticut firm of Tyler Cooper & Alcorn. He is currently chairman of the board of Connecticut Legal Services.
Miller worked at UConn for three decades and once led the music department. School employees were notified several times between 2006 and 2011 of allegations that Miller had sexual contact with children, but it wasn't until February of this year that school administrators were told of the claims, according to UConn officials and the state Attorney General's Office. And it wasn't until last month that Miller was placed on paid administrative leave.
School officials didn't have the information they needed to place Miller on leave until they received a state police search warrant affidavit last month, UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz said. University officials announced the creation of a Board of Trustees committee to review its responses to the allegations.
Among those allegations were that in 1992, Miller inappropriately touched four boys ages 10 to 13 who attended a camp for sick children where he was a counselor. The accusers say he took them to his home without permission several times and would often make them take off their clothes, saying he had to check them for ticks and bruises. State police said the boys had hemophilia, a bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn't clot normally.
The camp where Miller worked, the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, opened by actor Paul Newman for sick children, released a statement saying it was aware of an investigation of a former staff member.
Another accuser says Miller molested him when he was 13 and a student at the former Whittier Intermediate School near Falls Church, Va., where Miller taught in the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to Connecticut state police. A Fairfax County, Va., police spokesman confirmed his agency is investigating allegations involving the accuser.
State police said the statute of limitations has expired in the Connecticut case but not for the Virginia allegations.
And last month, a faculty member told a university official that a student alleged that Miller had sex with UConn students, visited freshmen dorms and provided drugs to students, according to the state Attorney General's Office. It's not clear when those alleged actions happened.
Miller, 66, of Mansfield, was barred from the Storrs campus after being placed on leave.
The details of the allegations against Miller, who is not charged with any crime, were not widely publicized before Monday's revelations by UConn, which said it is cooperating with the investigations. In the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, many colleges have sought to improve how they respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.
UConn officials acted quickly after they first learned of the investigations of Miller this year, UConn President Susan Herbst said in a statement. "Any accusation of sexual misconduct by faculty, staff, or students is among the gravest issues that any institution must face. It is clear that serious accusations have been made, questions that demand answers have been raised, and we will do all we can to find the truth and protect the vulnerable," Herbst said.
UConn also has launched an internal review of its compliance with the federal Title IX gender discrimination law in connection with Miller's alleged sexual misconduct with UConn students. The law requires federally funded universities to act promptly when they are notified of possible sexual assault or harassment. The outside law firm will reportedly assist with that investigation as well.
"We are putting the full weight of our institution behind the multiple investigations that have begun and will continue into this matter," Herbst said. "From the moment information came to University personnel earlier this year to the present, the University has acted quickly and methodically. This will not change."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.