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Investigators find Lessenberry acted inappropriately toward Wayne State University students

Jack Lessenberry resigned from university after 25 years

DETROIT – Wayne State University finished an investigation into Jack Lessenberry, the former head of the journalism department, and said he would have been fired had he not left on his own.

Officials from Wayne State University are saying Lessenberry violated the school's sexual harassment policy.

Lessenberry was accused of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior toward students. The allegations surfaced in May, when Deadline Detroit published the story "Jack Lessenberry's Long History of Questionable Behavior with Women."

"We deeply regret any of our students feel they've been exposed to misconduct," said WSU Attorney Linda Galante in May.

Now, the university isn't speaking on camera, but it released a statement on the independent investigation that revealed Lessenberry violated the nondiscrimination and sexual harassment policies. Part of the statement is below.

"We deeply regret that Wayne State students have been subjected to this type of inappropriate behavior, and we hope this brings some closure to those students who were mistreated by Mr. Lessenberry."

Local 4 went to Lessenberry's house to learn what he had to say about the university's findings, but no one answered the door.

The university said Lessenberry didn't cooperate in its investigation. Regardless, school leaders said, he violated the policy and would have been fired if he hadn't already resigned.

Here is the full statement from Wayne State following an investigation by private attorney Tara Mohoney:

"Wayne State University is now in receipt of the final report of Ms. Tara Mahoney, a private attorney specializing in this area, who Wayne State retained to do an independent investigation into allegations made about Jack Lessenberry following an article published by Deadline Detroit. Thank you for coming forward to speak with/meet with her.

"Ms. Mahoney has done a very thorough investigation. Mr. Lessenberry was given the opportunity to participate and chose not to do so. Based upon Ms. Mahoney’s factual findings, she reached the conclusion that Mr. Lessenberry’s actions violated Wayne State University non-discrimination and sexual harassment policies. Wayne State accepts her findings.

"While Wayne State views these findings as a sufficient basis for termination, Mr. Lessenberry resigned from WSU effective June 22, 2018, while the investigation was still underway. 

"We deeply regret that Wayne State students have been subjected to this type of inappropriate behavior, and we hope this brings some closure to those students who were mistreated by Mr. Lessenberry.

"If you are currently a student at Wayne State, please know that you can obtain counseling support through our Office of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS). Their services are free to registered students. They can be reached at 313-577-3398. For those who are no longer current students, if you wish, I can provide you with a list of resources in the Detroit Metropolitan area.

"Again, thank you for coming forward and for your cooperation in this investigation."