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Board of Curators announces hiring of independent counsel

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Board of Curators today announced the hiring of the Dowd Bennett Law Firm to conduct an investigation to determine whether university employees acted consistent with law and university policy regarding the allegations of the sexual assault or rape of former MU student-athlete Sasha Menu Courey. The board previously approved the hiring of independent counsel at its last meeting on January 29, and Dowd Bennett is scheduled to report back to the full Board of Curators on April 11, 2014, the board’s next meeting in Rolla, with findings and conclusions.

Members of Dowd Bennett who will work on the investigation include Edward Dowd, Lisa Hoppenjans, Gabriel Gore, Jim Martin and Becky Powers. Each has significant experience conducting complex, high-level investigations.  Two members of the team served as United States attorneys, and three served as Assistant United States attorneys; another member served as the head of a sex crimes unit and inspector for the United States Postal Service, while another member has experience as an investigative reporter who previously investigated another university’s handling of sexual assault allegations. No member of the team is an MU alum, and the firm has never performed work for the University of Missouri. 

“Ms. Courey’s story is heartbreaking, and our sympathy and prayers remain with her family, friends and teammates,” University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair Don Downing said. “The board believes that it is important to take an independent look at the facts and circumstances surrounding this tragic event, and how it was handled by university employees. We are pleased with the well-qualified, experienced and diverse team that Dowd Bennett has assembled to conduct this independent investigation.”

“Our task from the Board of Curators is to do a complete investigation, get all the facts and report our findings promptly,” said Edward Dowd.

Individuals with information pertaining to the independent counsel’s investigation are encouraged to contact Dowd Bennett attorneys directly at (314) 889-7300. Individuals who wish to report anonymously can report through a confidential third-party service by calling EthicsPoint at 1 (855) 208-3252 or by submitting a report online at

Board chair Don Downing will be available to address members of the news media regarding this announcement at 2:30 p.m. today. Media should call (866) 357-7737 and use the access code of 7797937005 to join the call.






Reviewed 2014-02-14