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    Monday, February 26, 2024

    CNN says former academy professor who now heads Massachusetts college ‘sexted’ cadet

    Glenn Sulmasy, then a U.S. Coast Guard captain, pictured in a July 2013 file photo.

    New London ― Citing “confidential records,” CNN reported Thursday that Glenn Sulmasy, a college president and a former law professor at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, exchanged sexually suggestive messages with a cadet he taught at the academy nearly a decade ago.

    The allegation is the latest involving Sulmasy, who is on a voluntary leave of absence from his post at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., which has announced the launching of an independent, third-party investigation into Sulmasy’s time at the academy.

    According to CNN, Coast Guard attorneys recommended in early 2016 that Sulmasy, who had left the academy the previous year, be charged with conduct unbecoming an officer. Sulmasy, however, was never prosecuted, CNN reported.

    An academy graduate, Sulmasy joined the academy faculty in 2001.

    Sulmasy’s attorney, Jeffrey Robbins, defended his client, according to CNN, which said Robbins claimed prosecutors characterized “the intimate texts in question” as consensual. Robbins told CNN the proposed prosecution of Sulmasy had been “rightfully rejected by the adults within the legal wing of the Coast Guard.”

    In a statement issued earlier this week, Nichols officials announced they “recently became aware of information pertaining to President Glenn Sulmasy while at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.”

    “In light of this information, the College has determined that it is in its best interest to engage an independent third party to further investigate,” the statement continued. “President Sulmasy is on voluntary leave, and Bill Pieczynski, vice president for advancement, is serving as acting president. The College has no further comment at this time.”

    CNN, which has been focused on the academy’s mishandling of an internal investigation of decades of sexual misconduct at the school and the coverup of the resulting findings of the probe, “Operation Fouled Anchor,” reported in July on the case of a former cadet who said she had been sexually assaulted while at the academy years earlier.

    The victim said two academy attorneys, including Sulmasy, had discouraged her from pursuing the matter, a claim Robbins countered in a statement he provided.

    “In July, CNN published a story claiming that in 2014, a former Coast Guard cadet had told investigators in connection with a general review of the Coast Guard’s internal procedures and historical performance that it was her recollection that in 1997, seventeen years earlier, President Sulmasy had been one of two Coast Guard lawyers with whom she had met at the Coast Guard Academy to discuss her assault by a fellow cadet,” Robbins wrote. “That story was not only wrong, but egregiously and demonstrably wrong, among other things because President Sulmasy was not even a lawyer until 1998 and because he was not at the Coast Guard Academy at the time.”

    “Nevertheless,” he continued, “because it is understandable that the Nichols College Board would want to conduct an investigation into the matter, President Sulmasy offered to voluntarily go on leave while the Board conducts its investigation, which the Board has represented it will conclude promptly. He hopes and expects that the investigation will be concluded in short order and, of course, he is cooperating fully with it.”

    Sulmasy, who headed the Department of Humanities at the academy, left the academy in 2015 to become provost and chief academic officer at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. He began his tenure as Nichols president on July 1, 2021.

    U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., announced last week that the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs’ Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations had opened an inquiry into the academy’s mishandling of internal investigations of sexual assaults and its failure to disclose the findings of those investigations.

    b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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