The man who spent years ruling on Wesleyan University’s sexual misconduct hearings has been charged with trying to meet with a minor for sex.
Scott Backer, 39, was arrested four months after a man not connected with the police posed as a 15-year-old girl on the phone messaging app “Yik Yak,” the Hartford Courant reports.
After the vigilante sent the police video footage of Backer showing up to meet with him at a supermarket, officers investigated and arrested Backer on Monday, charging him with “use of a computer to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.”
“We don’t encourage the public do anything like this,” West Hartford police Sgt. Tony Anderlebut said. “It was brought to our attention and we investigated.”
Prior to his arrest, Backer was fired from his position as Wesleyan’s associate dean of students hours after a Boston Globe reporter asked administrators whether they knew that Backer had been, in the same year that he was hired by Wesleyan, fired from his position at a Vermont boarding school for “propositioning” a teenage girl through numerous text messages.
Despite that previous incident (which was later settled outside court in 2011), Backer managed to leave the school with three positive recommendations, and serve as an associate dean at Wesleyan from 2007 to 2016. Past students said that, as part of his duties, Backer helped adjudicate sexual assault reports on a panel with other university officials, Mic reported.
Backer’s bail is now set for $US150,000.
This news comes in a long string of universities failing to properly address or decrease sexual assault on campus. A new national study, released by the National Center for Education Statistics Tuesday, found that campus sexual assault reports have tripled in the last decade.
An estimated one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college, and over 90% don’t report their attacks.
Wesleyan President Michael Roth said in an email to students obtained by the Courant that he was “angry and upset” when he heard about Backer’s arrest.
“This incident should remind us of the importance of supporting survivors of sexual assault and educating ourselves about the problem of sexual discrimination, harassment and violence,” Roth said.
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