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Newly released records: Deputy wanted BYU Honor Code Office to investigate alleged rape victim

First Published      Last Updated May 18 2016 09:01 am

BYU Honor Code probe » Utah County sheriff says officer was “misguided,” but his motive wasn’t retaliation.

Utah County sheriff's Deputy Edwin Randolph didn't believe Madi Barney.

Weeks after the Brigham Young University student reported she was sexually assaulted, Randolph was alerting university staff to the rape case — and to his own skepticism.

Barney "wants to screw up [the suspect's] life," Randolph told them, according to a Provo detective's summary of notes taken by the school's Title IX coordinators.

Her allegation was "bull crap," Randolph later told the detective in a January interview.

The Salt Lake Tribune previously reported that segments of that recorded interview were inaudible, indicating that Randolph may have given additional reasons for his meeting at BYU. A better copy of that recording and other public records recently released to The Tribune reveal that Randolph consistently stated his intent: He had hoped the school's Honor Code Office would get the truth out of Barney.

Others have since offered conflicting explanations. Randolph's attorney has said his client hoped the school would investigate the behavior of male students; Randolph's boss, Utah County Sheriff Jim Tracy, has said Randolph wanted to prevent attacks against female students he cared about as a volunteer track coach at the Mormon school.

Neither account explains Randolph's focus on and repeated criticism of Barney to Detective Martin Webb and the BYU staffers.

During a half-hour interview at his home with Webb, Randolph spent less than a minute expressing his concerns about anyone other than Barney and the accused, 39-year-old Nasiru Seidu.

Randolph also told Webb that a Title IX employee at the BYU meeting warned him that he might get in trouble by involving himself in an active rape prosecution.

"I said, 'There's no trouble here,' " Randolph recalled to Webb, and said he added: "I think somebody's doing something that needs to be questioned. She goes to BYU and lives in BYU housing and [is] playing around and doing all this stupid stuff — I think it's a problem."

Webb asked Randolph what he thought would happen to Barney after he gave to BYU pages from the rape case file.

"Sometimes they'll suspend you," Randolph replied. "Sometimes they'll kick you out of school."

Randolph's tip did trigger an Honor Code investigation of Barney. Although the prosecutor in the rape case asked BYU to delay its probe until the criminal case is resolved, Barney said the school refused and blocked her from enrolling for this fall.

The Tribune generally doesn't name sexual assault victims, but Barney has agreed to be identified.

While a witness retaliation charge against Randolph has been dismissed, Utah Peace Officer Standards and Training investigators now are evaluating whether he committed misconduct that affects his certification to enforce the law.

'He does not understand the law' • Randolph told Webb he had met Seidu once, at a celebration of Ghana's independence, before Seidu was accused of raping Barney in her off-campus apartment.

His visit with Seidu at the county jail was prompted by supervisors' concern that the inmate was suicidal and may not have understood English well enough to comprehend his situation, Tracy said. Randolph and Seidu both are from Ghana.

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