WSBTV has learned a Fort Valley State University employee at the center of sexual misconduct and Georgia Bureau of Investigations criminal investigations has resigned from her position.
Johnson, the University president’s former executive assistant, worked for the state institution since 2004, receiving consistent, stellar reviews.
Last year, her salary increased to $64,000 with a promotion to oversee university special events, in addition to her duties in the president’s office.
Johnson submitted a resignation letter on April 18, the same day the national office for Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., revealed its own probe into sexual misconduct allegations involving a Fort Valley State University employee who is also a graduate member of the sorority.
Johnson served as the graduate advisor of the University’s Alpha Beta chapter of the sorority, per her own online profiles.
The letter, addressed to University President Dr. Paul Jones reads as follows:
Greetings Dr. Jones, I find it best under the circumstances to render my resignation, effective immediately. Please have my personal belongings packed and mailed to the address listed or I can have someone pick them up next week.
Jones replied to the hand-delivered notice and accepted Johnson’s resignation the same day. He confirmed her belongings would be packed and mailed to her.
Johnson has not been identified by authorities.
Earlier this month Johnson was referred to as an employee on administrative leave amid the investigation, per statements issued by the university and the sorority.
Johnson’s administrative leave notice was not available through the Open Records request because it is a part of the active investigation, the university’s legal department confirmed to Carr.
On Thursday, students told Carr they were not aware that Johnson was involved in the investigation, but they’d been reassured by Jones that there’s no need to worry. They’d also had a student assembly on the matter, reiterating that promise, according to students.
“Everyone is kind of really confused, and really wanting to know what’s going on,” said sophomore and SGA member, Esther Aknola. “The president has been sending e-mails saying, 'Keep calm and everything is going to work out for itself.'"
“I don’t know much about it besides the storyline everybody else has heard,” said Jevius Terry, another sophomore.
NATURE OF THE INVESTIGATION
WSBTV is aware of the detailed nature of the criminal investigation, but has chosen not allude to it without access to records.
Those records have largely been sealed by the state.
There are now three active investigations on the Fort Valley campus. The only entity to confirm the allegations are tied to sexual misconduct is the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
The GBI has not released many details regarding their criminal investigation. Early on it confirmed multiple agents were added to the case, as dozens of interviews and several search warrants for belongings, including laptops, were executed on campus earlier this month.
An open records request for the Attorney General’s investigation request letter on April 17 was denied to Carr by the AG’s office and then-lead GBI agent J.T. Ricketson, citing the active criminal investigation.
There was also a request by the University system to launch an investigation. A copy of that was requested by Carr on April 17. The request has been acknowledged, but not yet fulfilled.
Last week, the system’s chancellor, Steve Wrigley, requested Ricketson be removed from the case because of his responsiveness to media inquiries and concern over maintaining integrity of the case.
It was an unprecedented move by the Board of Regents
"Ricketson has, from the moment he got on the case, been talking to the media," Wrigley wrote GBI Director Vernon Keenan. "He has talked to more reporters than Fort Valley State University students and officials."
"We need a professional, thorough and timely investigation conducted," the letter continued. "Ricketson has demonstrated he cannot provide this."
The GBI immediately replaced Ricketson.
Now the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is sending its own investigator to the campus.
Through a separate university open records request, Carr obtained a letter addressed to the Alpha Beta chapter, that included the Fort Valley State University’s Dean of Students.
It came from the sorority’s South Atlantic Regional Director, and described the campus chapter’s suspension through a “Withdrawal of Privileges.”
“Members cannot serve as a representative or spokesperson and cannot represent yourself in any manner as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated,” wrote the Regional Director, Sharon Brown Harriot.
The letter also outlined plans for the organization to send a lead Iivestigator from the Great Lakes Region to Fort Valley. Interviews with the university’s member’s will be conducted this weekend, according to the letter.
A spokesperson for Fort Valley State University did not respond to a request for comment on Johnson’s resignation.
The university system and the GBI also declined to offer further details Thursday.
Disclaimer: Carr is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., but is not affiliated with a chapter.
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