Special counsel appointed to oversee investigation of former OU President David Boren
A former U.S. attorney who prosecuted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh has been appointed as a special counsel over the investigation of David Boren.
Pat Ryan has agreed to assist state grand jurors "in any proceedings" related to the OSBI investigation of the former University of Oklahoma president and a former OU vice president, Tripp Hall. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has four agents looking into sexual misconduct allegations. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Ryan was appointed after Attorney General Mike Hunter recused himself from any involvement in the matter. Hunter's assistants advise the grand jury.
"The attorney general took appropriate action by recusing himself and numerous senior members of his staff from involvement in this case to avoid any conflict of interest. This will ensure we can continue our attorney-client relationship with the university now and in the future," a spokesman for the AG's office said.
Ryan will provide "legal guidance and advice" to AG assistants and investigators working with the multicounty grand jury on the matter, according to his April 16 appointment letter. He was named to the position by Dawn Cash, first assistant attorney general.
Grand jurors meet in secret sessions in Oklahoma City one to three days a month to hear testimony and to deliberate whether to bring indictments. Their next meeting is Wednesday.
Ryan, 73, is best known for his involvement in prosecuting McVeigh and bombing co-conspirator Terry Nichols at their separate jury trials in Denver in 1997. He was U.S. attorney for Oklahoma City at the time. McVeigh was executed for the deadly 1995 attack on the Oklahoma City federal building. Nichols is serving life in prison without the possibility of release.
Ryan got his bachelor's degree from OU in 1967 and his law degree from OU in 1969. He was editor of the Oklahoma Law Review.
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"Acting as special counsel, Mr. Ryan must comply with all state statutes regarding the multicounty grand jury and is unable to disclose information or provide comment on this case," Alex Gerszewski, the AG's communications director, said Tuesday.
The OSBI on March 28 began investigating Boren after a former teaching assistant accused him of sexual battery.
The former assistant, Jess Eddy, claims Boren made unwanted sexual advances toward him over a two-year period, the first time in 2010 in a hotel room in Houston.
OU last fall hired the Jones Day law firm to look into allegations of inappropriate conduct by Boren. The law firm briefed regents on the findings April 9 during a closed meeting that lasted more than six hours. The briefing came days after Boren spoke with Jones Day investigators.
Boren and his attorney, Clark Brewster, will now get to review the law firm's lengthy report on the allegations. They then will have five days to make a response.
Boren, a former governor and U.S. senator, spent nearly 24 years in charge at OU before retiring last year. He had planned to continue to teach an honors political science course at the university but did not this spring semester. He will be 78 on Sunday.