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Dean put on leave after sex charges

Brian Ebie
By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 31, 2005
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A UA assistant dean who was arrested last week on charges of sexual conduct with a minor has been put on paid leave until the outcome of the trial is known, officials said.

Brian David Ebie, interim assistant dean of the College of Fine Arts and assistant music professor, was arrested Oct. 24 by the University of Arizona Police Department and is currently in Pima County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

Ebie, 38, was teaching one graduate course prior to his arrest. Someone has since been reassigned to teach the class while Ebie is on paid leave, a standard UA procedure, said Maurice Sevigny, College of Fine Arts dean.

Ebie is charged with two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor that occurred with a middle school student in Ohio. He is expected to be extradited to Ohio to face the charges, where each count carries a penalty of one to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines, police said.

The UA found out about the charges against Ebie last week, when a 20-year-old accuser decided to come forward after several years of counseling about a sexual relationship she had with Ebie while she was a minor, police said.

The woman was a 15-year-old middle school student in Akron, Ohio, when a consensual sexual relationship started with her former middle school music teacher, said Lt. Rick Edwards, Akron Police Department spokesman.

The relationship lasted more than a year and included sex in Ebie's home in Akron, and possibly in vehicles and parks, Edwards said.

The woman first told police about the relationship when she was 18 and a high school student. At the time the woman decided not to press charges, Edwards said.

"With sexual assault crimes, victims often feel embarrassment and guilt. It's hard for them to come forward," Edwards said.

Ebie voluntarily surrendered his Ohio teaching credentials after hearing about the accusations, police said.

The woman eventually decided to press charges two years later after a combination of counseling and conversations with family and friends, and knowing Ebie was no longer living in Ohio. The woman filed the charges two years before the statute of limitations expired, Edwards said.

Under Ohio statute, victims of sex crimes have up to seven years to file charges after the last incident occurred, Edwards said.

"At this point she knew there'd be no repercussion from him since he's five states away," Edwards said. "She now feels strong enough to pursue charges."

Akron police haven't received any other complaints against Ebie, Edwards said.

A background check was conducted on Ebie before he was hired at the UA in 2001, and there was nothing to indicate he had been involved in any previous criminal activity, said Marcia Chatalas, director of Human Resources.

Because the woman never actually filed charges until now, the UA had no way of knowing about this incident because it did not show up in a background check.

Sevigny said he is unsure when or if Ebie's students will be informed about his arrest. The majority of faculty and staff in the School of Music were not told about the incident until Thursday, he said.

Ebie is described as a favorite among staff, and Sevigny said he was surprised when he heard about the charges.

"He was a wonderful employee and a great team player," Sevigny said. "We feel badly for him and badly about the whole circumstance."

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