Ex-NAU president sent suggestive e-mails to university
Thursday November 15, 2001
By Associated Press
ARIZONA DAILY WILDCAT
PHOENIX - A male employee at Northern Arizona University complained that the school's former president made unwanted sexual advances toward him and sent him sexually suggestive e-mails, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Owen Cargol, 50, was president for just four months before resigning Saturday when confronted with the allegations.
The Arizona Board of Regents officially accepted Cargol's resignation Monday and appointed Provost John Haeger as acting president.
The employee's complaint was supported by one or more e-mails containing "vivid" sexual overtures that Cargol sent the man, The Arizona Republic reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.
Cargol, a married father of two, told the newspaper Tuesday that he had "interactions" with the unnamed employee, but Cargol said they were "misconstrued."
"If, in trying to build a friendship and help a friend build up self-confidence, my intentions were misinterpreted, then I apologize," Cargol said in the statement. "What I asked the board to do was make sure the punishment fit the offense. In my opinion, a reprimand or suspension without pay would be much more appropriate if they felt I had made a mistake in judgment."
Cargol has an unlisted telephone number and couldn't be immediately reached for comment yesterday by The Associated Press.
University officials declined to comment on the Republic's story.
The Republic said that its sources, which were contacted separately, confirmed Tuesday that the allegations came from an NAU employee who said Cargol had grabbed his genitals.
Cargol later sent the man an e-mail that one source told the Republic was "very clear in its nature - very vivid. You could see there was the (sexual) overture."
When first confronted with the complaint, Cargol confirmed he had communicated with the man but denied impropriety, the sources told the Republic.
In a Saturday meeting in Flagstaff, Regents President Kay McKay gave Cargol the choice of taking administrative leave or resigning, she said Monday at a press conference. He chose to resign.
McKay said Cargol, who was paid $180,000 a year plus allowances, would receive no severance pay or benefits.
Formerly president of the University of Maine at Augusta, Cargol quickly became known at NAU for an open-door policy, an eagerness to work with students and faculty and for a frequent presence at campus events.
Some NAU faculty members have objected to the speed and secrecy surrounding Cargol's departure.
Cargol told the Republic he was speaking with attorneys.
"My family and I are in shock," he said.