Antioch City Council candidate Thorpe continues to deny sex charges

Lamar Thorpe

Lamar Thorpe

By John Crowder

Lamar Thorpe, a candidate for the Antioch city council, continues to refute charges that came to light earlier this month that he was found guilty of disorderly conduct for “lewd and indecent behavior” by Student Judicial Services (SJS) at George Washington University (GW). The charges stemmed from an incident that took place in September, 2006, according to a University Police Department (UPD) Incident Report that was obtained by the GW Hatchet. Thorpe was a 25-year-old senior and serving as student body president at GW, at the time.

As a result of the SJS hearing, he was placed on one year of disciplinary probation. During that time, Thorpe continued at the university, obtaining a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies and serving as a Presidential Fellow.

The third and final Hatchet article on the matter, dated August 17, 2007, all of which are still online, stated the following:

A female sophomore accused Thorpe and then-Vice President of Student Activities Richard Fowler of forcing her to perform oral sex and drink excessively in September 2006, a University Police Department Incident Report states. The report, which was filed on April 22, classifies the alleged offense as first-degree sexual abuse. Both Thorpe and Fowler have repeatedly said they are unaware of the alleged incident and of a case before SJS.

Thorpe…lost an appeal to overturn the disorderly conduct charge, according to SJS records. A sanction letter states that his punishment is one year of disciplinary probation until May 2008.

Based upon various standards and guidelines as established by campus organizations, departments, administrators, and/or faculty, conditions of your probation may include exclusion from co-curricular activities,” the letter states. “Violations of the terms of Disciplinary Probation or any other violations of this ‘Code’ during the period of probation may result in suspension or expulsion from the University.”

…“Thorpe was 25 and the other three students were 19 at the time the complaint was reported to UPD, according to the Incident Report.”

The complete Gazette article can be viewed by clicking here.

Thorpe failed to respond to multiple attempts by Herald staff to contact him about this article. However, in a statement he released earlier this month on his personal Facebook page, Thorpe said, “In short, this student article, which was published nearly 10-years ago, is not true. Please remember that what you are reading is neither a news article nor a publication of George Washington University. The GW Hatchet is a student run publication nothing more, nothing less.” Thorpe also said that the “student online” newspaper, because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), is severely limited in its ability to make a full and accurate account. Later in the statement, he refers to the charges as “hearsay from almost 10 years ago.”

His complete statement can be viewed below.

Lamar-Thorpe statement

The implication by Thorpe that the story lacked journalistic integrity, however, is disputed both by David Ceasar, the author of the articles regarding Thorpe, and by current editor-in-chief of the 110-year-old paper, Brianna Gurciullo.

Everything we reported was accurate,” said Gurciullo, “you’ll notice there were no corrections to the story.”

Gurciullo went on to describe a particularly stringent verification process for the story about Thorpe. She said it involved sourcing things multiple times, dozens of interviews, and triple-checking everything. She said the paper’s staff had copies of the UPD incident report, information from Student Judicial Services, and a statement from a witness other than the alleged victim who filed the report. She also said that all interviews were recorded, and that their attorney reviewed the article prior to publication.

Gurciullo also said that the article was posted online because the story broke in the summer. According to Gurciullo, the paper appears in print only during the academic year, but articles are posted on-line year round.

Thorpe, however, continues to stand by his story.

I appealed the decision, I won and on July 1, 2008, my student judicial record was expunged,” he said.

The Herald contacted GW in an attempt to verify the facts of the case, but was met with resistance from the university. Kurtis Hiatt, Associate Director of Media Relations for GW, responded by email, “In accordance with the federal privacy law and university policy on the privacy of student education records, the George Washington University does not confirm whether a disciplinary record exists or comment, discuss, or disclose information in relation to any current or former student’s disciplinary record with the University.”

Past Denials

Thorpe also denied the charges in 2010, while a candidate for the House of Delegates in Maryland. According to a news article on The Examiner website, he posted a video on YouTube (which has since been removed) in which “Thorpe attempted to blame the confusion over this topic on his opponents in the race.” The complete Examiner article can be viewed by clicking here

In another news article posted on the website for The Gazette in Gaithersburg, Maryland, also during his 2010 campaign, it states Thorpe “accused his political opponents of ‘misinforming the public by using a 2007 student article that maliciously stated false claims about me.’” and that he “could not recall the precise nature of the disorderly conduct charge and declined to discuss the matter further.”

The complete Gazette article can be viewed by clicking here.

Thorpe is one of eight candidates running for two seats on the Antioch City Council in the November election.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

the attachments to this post:

Lamar-Thorpe statement

Lamar Thorpe

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