Posts tagged with Ku

More information on why charges weren’t filed from October rape reports at KU dorm

I now have a bit more information about the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office decision not to file charges from a woman’s report that two men raped her in October in her University of Kansas dorm room.

Two male KU students were jailed Oct. 21 after the female student reported that two acquaintances raped her in her room at Downs Hall, 1517 W. 18th St., at different times earlier that morning, a Saturday. Allegations were that the men had sex with someone who was too intoxicated to give consent, according to initial KU crime report entries. The men were released from jail the following Monday morning without being charged. 

Cheryl Wright Kunard, assistant to DA Charles Branson, provided some information, in an email response to questions from the Journal-World, about why the DA’s office decided not to file charges.

In one case, “the victim advised a witness that the sex act was consensual,” Wright Kunard said.

In the other case, the DA’s office requested follow-up investigation from law enforcement but, after receiving the follow-up, determined it would be unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had occurred, Wright Kunard said. “Additionally,” she said, “the victim advised investigation that she did not want to pursue charges.”

Cora Downs Residence Hall on the campus of the University of Kansas.

Cora Downs Residence Hall on the campus of the University of Kansas. by Nick Krug

I didn’t get the DA’s office response in time to include it in my Dec. 22 story reporting the conclusions of the cases. When they responded the next business day, I was out of the office for the week. But I think the information is worth sharing, if belated.

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.


Fed up with office refrigerator theft? KU employee reports to police

University of Kansas police took a recent theft report alleging that “someone stole 10 bananas and 12 tortillas from a break room refrigerator,” according to the department’s online crime log. The crime, reported Thursday morning, Oct. 5, occurred sometime in the previous two days at Malott Hall.

The victim, a KU employee, told police that he’d put his food in the fridge to eat for the week, said Deputy Chief James Anguiano. The estimated value of the stolen bananas and tortillas was $7.

Anguiano said there’s no minimum value for items you can report stolen to KU police. In fact, the department has taken theft reports for things valued at just $1. Anguiano said it wasn’t clear from the report whether this employee had food taken from the fridge before and this was some kind of last straw. But things like that motivate people, even when monetary value is negligible.

“Sometimes it’s out of principle they’ll call it in,” Anguiano said. “Maybe it’s happened to them more than once.”

The banana- and tortilla-theft case remained open this week.

— I’m the Journal-World’s public safety reporter. Reach me by email at or by phone at 785-832-7187. I’m also on Twitter, @saramarieshep.

Reply 3 comments from Dorothyhoytreed Nick Gerik Rick Masters

University employee accused of pulling tail off rabbit at KU day care center

OK, I’ll tell you up front that the rabbit lived. That should lessen any anxiety produced by this story.

A Lawrence man, arrested Sunday night, is accused of cruelty to animals and theft.

Shawn Witte Zuehlsdorf, 30, injured a rabbit at Hilltop Child Development Center on Wednesday, according to University of Kansas Public Safety Deputy Chief James Anguiano. Zuehlsdorf is a university employee, but is not employed by Hilltop, Anguiano said.

Jeremy Fite, Hilltop’s executive director, said the rabbit’s name is Carrots and that he is a classroom pet at the day care.

Between 2 and 2:45 a.m. Wednesday, Zuehlsdorf reportedly pulled the rabbit’s tail off and took it from the day care center, Anguiano said.

The report took Fite by surprise, he said.

Zuehlsdorf is one of a number of people who clean the day care after hours, Fite said. It is unclear what precipitated the incident involving Carrots.

Fite said Carrots survived the encounter and is currently on the mend.

“Hopefully he’ll be back in the classrooms soon,” he said.

Zuehlsdorf was arrested Sunday night on suspicion of two counts of cruelty to animals and a single count of theft, according to the Douglas County Jail’s online booking logs. He was arrested at KU’s Office of Public Safety, 1501 Crestline Drive.

Zuehlsdorf is currently being held at the jail in lieu of a $3,000 bond, the jail logs say. Additional information was not immediately available.

Correction: KU Public Safety initially misidentified Zuehlsdorf as an employee of Hilltop Child Development Center. He is a university employee, but is not employed by Hilltop, KU Public Safety Deputy Chief James Anguiano clarified.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.

Reply 7 comments from Sarah Carr Bob Smith Stops4armadillos Thesychophant Steve Jacob Fred Whitehead Jr. Bill McGovern

Former KU football player pleads guilty to theft charge; current football player awaits trial

A former University of Kansas football player pleaded guilty on Friday to stealing money to pay for fast food. Another man, currently on KU's football team, is awaiting trial regarding the incident.

Eric Deon Rivers, 21, and Kendall Nyear Duckworth, 19, were arrested the morning of Feb. 19.

The two men were accused of stealing $40 from another man outside Jayhawker Towers, 1603 W. 15th St., that morning, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Douglas County District Court. The two men reportedly said during the incident that they wanted to get food from Jimmy John's.

Both men were originally arrested on suspicion of robbery, though misdemeanor theft charges were eventually filed in June.

Eric Rivers

Eric Rivers by Conrad Swanson

On Friday, Rivers pleaded guilty to the crime. He was ordered to serve 10 days in jail and pay restitution.

Rivers was dismissed from KU's football team after his arrest, while Duckworth was suspended, said head football coach David Beaty.

Rivers has since moved to Texas, according to court documents.

Duckworth is currently listed on KU's official football team roster. He is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, when a date will be set for his criminal trial.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.

Reply 2 comments from Bob Smith Notwhatyouthink2

Grad student in KU’s journalism program accused of falsifying visa application, faces felony charges

In the batch of felony charges filed against a former University of Kansas graduate student in the journalism school, one especially stands out: He's accused of lying.

Goran Sabah Ghafour, 34, faces two felony counts of aggravated identity theft and one felony count of visa fraud, according to a news release from Tom Beall, acting U.S. attorney in the District of Kansas.

As a part of an immigrant visa application for former Iraqi nationals, Ghafour falsely claimed that he worked as a translator for the U.S. Army in Iraq, the release said. Alongside those claims he submitted two letters — later determined to be fake — from a pair of Army brigadier generals.

The two generals neither wrote nor signed the letters, the release said.

Ghafour's falsified application was submitted while he was working as a teaching assistant in KU's journalism school, the release said.

Erinn Barcomb-Peterson, a spokeswoman for KU, said Ghafour graduated this May and is no longer a student at the university.

If found guilty of the three charges, Ghafour could face up to 12 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, the release said.

Ghafour is next scheduled to appear in court for a status conference regarding the charges on Aug. 16.

I report on crime and courts for the Journal-World. I can be reached by email at, by phone at (785) 832-7284 or on Twitter @Conrad_Swanson.

Reply 6 comments from Bob Smith Clara Westphal Richard Aronoff Daniel Boothe

Heskett trial update; rollover accident at 12th and Kentucky; man tries to steal KU student’s bag on West Campus

Just a short update today before I head back to court in the Ronald Heskett trial. To catch up on this week’s coverage so far, check out the following links:




I’ll have a story summing up today's testimony this evening.

Now for our police blotter notes:

Early this morning there was a rollover accident just east of the Kansas University campus.

It happened near the intersection of 12th and Kentucky streets around 2 a.m., Journal-World news partner, Operation 100 News reported. There were some injuries, police reported, but luckily they were described as “minor.”

Apparently one of the cars flipped on its side. Someone on Twitter said that it looked like an SUV “clipped a parked car” and landed on its side. That tweeter, @JSeigz, sent out this photo of the scene:

None by JSeigz

Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said the SUV was northbound on Kentucky Street when it “struck several parked cars.” Operation 100 News’ Mike Frizzell said he heard on the scanner that the SUV had struck a parked Honda Accord and a Suzuki motorcycle.

Alcohol is believed to be involved in the incident. The scene has been cleared, but officers continue to investigate.

A man allegedly tried last night to snatch a satchel away from a female KU student on KU’s West Campus in parking lot 300, which is near the Lied Center.

KU Public Safety Office spokesman Capt. James Anguiano said the attempted attack occurred around 9:05 p.m. Thursday. He said that the man was unsuccessful in his attempt, and afterward ran south from the scene toward Pioneer Cemetery.

Anguiano said the suspect is described as a white male, approximately 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a black jacket and dark jeans.

I don’t know how this woman was able to avoid being robbed, but good for her. That area gets pretty dark at night. It’s a good idea to park under streetlights whenever possible and be aware of your surroundings.


Fraternity antics; alleged drug-toting bicyclist escapes police; why wasn’t apparently drunken truck passenger arrested?; auto buglaries in Pinkney, Old West Lawrence neighborhoods

Ah, it’s that time of year when U-Haul trucks line the streets and you can’t walk a block without spotting a couch on a curb. Yep, the students are on their way — and with them will surely come a few antics to write about.

We had one seemingly harmless incident occur last night. Journal-World reporter Conrad Swanson told me that sometime during his evening shift Tuesday a group of fraternity men were reported for chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” at oncoming cars for a bit. But Conrad said the rowdy bunch “skedaddled before long” and no criminal action was taken. Ah, college.

Remember that seemingly drunken passenger at the scene of the truck fiasco last week? Many of us were baffled he was never arrested for his behavior, so I spoke with Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley yesterday on the topic. He cleared a few things up for me.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

McKinley said that a while back, police used to be able to arrest folks on suspicion of disorderly conduct a lot easier. But in recent years, he said, courts have decided that fighting words are really required — or words used to incite a fight — to have probable cause to prosecute a person for disorderly conduct.

Though I saw the man, whom police described as "highly intoxicated," agitate and call a lot of people — children included — names, that conduct may not be considered “fighting words” in a court of law. Compare it with the Westboro Baptist Church; we may be offended by its messages, but the courts have found time and again that its words are protected speech under the First Amendment.

I also reported that I saw the man head-butt another man, but in order to prosecute that, McKinley said, the victim would have to be willing to file a police report and testify against the man, which is a big, long process. As for the public urination incident, McKinley said that’s hard to prove if an officer didn’t see it. Plus, I think the police had bigger fish to fry with getting that massive Chevy off the sidewalk railing.

None by Caitlin Doornbos

Now the passenger may not have been arrested for his behavior, but another man allegedly causing a ruckus at Lawrence Memorial Hospital was Monday night.

About 11 p.m., police were called to the LMH emergency room to deal with an allegedly drunken man who was accompanying a woman being treated for an injury. The man reportedly got out of hand, being verbally abusive to hospital staff and even a patient. When officers arrived, the man allegedly told them he “would not leave under any circumstances,” McKinley said. He was therefore arrested on suspicion of trespassing and removed from the hospital.

The following story sounds like one we heard in Lights & Sirens last week at the Super 8.

A male bicyclist around 9:30 p.m. Monday was stopped on the street — I'm not sure where — for a traffic infraction, Lawrence police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

An officer began searching a backpack the man had (though I’m not clear on why.) As the officer was going through the bag, the man allegedly hopped back on his bike and darted away.

He must have been one fast pedaler, because the officer lost sight of him by the time the officer had “secured the evidence” and attempted to give chase, McKinley said.

The officer allegedly found drugs and drug paraphernalia inside the backpack. They’ll be sent to the Kansas Bureau of Investigations for testing.

The man ended up getting away, but officers continue to search for him. Apparently he’s a parolee.

There was a disturbance with weapons called in at 9 p.m. Monday after a man came to someone’s home and began arguing with the resident about owed money. The resident called police and said that the man “was known to carry brass knuckles” and had warrants for his arrest, so police responded. But as it turns out, officers did not find probable cause to arrest anyone and there were no warrants out for the man’s arrest. "Metal knuckles" are listed as a banned weapon in Kansas criminal statutes.

There apparently were a ton of auto burglaries early Tuesday morning. Yesterday, I’d reported that there were NINE of them reported Monday night into Tuesday morning. McKinley said the nine burglaries were “generally located in the Pinckney and Old West Lawrence neighborhoods. Officers have identified “several suspects” and continue to investigate the incidents. McKinley didn’t know yesterday whether the vehicles were locked or where they were parked, but I’ll check up with him again today.

I’m still working to figure out what happened around 15th and Lawrence Avenue Monday night to cause a lot of emergency response. I’ve spoken with a lot of you who inquired, so just know I haven’t forgotten. I hope to have an answer soon.

And now for our regular roundup of police calls. As always, I’ll remind you that this is a list of noteworthy calls I pulled from the Lawrence Police Department call log. Not all calls yielded police reports, and many may have gone unsubstantiated. The list is meant to give you an idea of what kinds of calls police are responding to within a given time period.

This list is a collection of calls that police responded to between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.


  • Disturbance (verbal or physical arguments): 5

  • Domestic disturbance: 5

  • Battery: 1

  • Fight in progress: 1

  • Criminal threat: 1


  • Noninjury accident: 13


  • Medical: 4

  • Suicide threat: 2


  • Drug activity: 2


  • Suspicious activity: 5

  • Suspicious activity with weapons: 1

  • Noise/Nuisance: 5

  • Runaway: 2

Property crimes

  • Burglary: 1

  • Theft: 3

  • Stolen vehicle: 1

  • Trespassing: 9

Reply 7 comments from Richard Heckler Caitlin Doornbos Dorothyhoytreed Mark Jakubauskas Clara Westphal

Driver beaten in parking lot; vandal allegedly causes $10,000 in damage to vehicle parked at The Oread hotel; police retrieve stolen motorcycle; call roundup

Just after 5 p.m. Saturday, officers responded to a battery at an apartment on Lynch Court where a man had allegedly beat up an individual who he believed “had made advances on (his) girlfriend,” Lawrence Police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley said.

The victim allegedly told police that he had parked his vehicle in the parking lot when the man, whom the victim knew, approached him. The victim said the man opened his vehicle’s door and punched him in the face.

Then, the victim said the man pulled him out of his vehicle, continuing to hit him before leaving the area on foot, McKinley said. Later, the victim would discover his apartment window had been smashed in, as well.

Officers found the suspect on foot nearby and gave him a notice to appear in court on suspicion of battery and criminal damage to property.

A condition update on the victim was not available.

Another parking lot horror story from this weekend:

Just before 4 a.m. Sunday, someone reported seeing a man battering a “late model Chevy Tahoe” parked in the half-circle driveway of The Oread hotel, 1200 Oread Ave.

Witnesses said a man had “walked around the vehicle damaging it with some kind of object," McKinley said. Responding officers discovered “deep scratches” in the vehicle’s paint and “noted the passenger side mirror had been knocked off.” Damages were estimated at $10,000.

Officers were able to get in touch with the Tahoe’s driver, who McKinley said was staying at the hotel. The driver told police that the Tahoe was a rental car and he’d parked it in front of the hotel around 11 the night before.

Dispatchers broadcast the suspect’s description, McKinley said, and an officer found a man, 23-year-old Brenan Patrick Cavanaugh, matching the description in the area. Cavanaugh was allegedly “holding a baseball bat in one hand and a large knife in the other."

Luckily, there was no trouble with the officer and Cavanaugh dropped the weapons when ordered. He was arrested on suspicion of felony criminal damage to property and booked into the Douglas County Jail at 4:21 a.m. Sunday.

Cavanaugh’s address is just about a block and a half away from the Oread, according to Douglas County Jail booking logs. He’s also listed as “released” after posting a $1,500 bond. From what I can tell, he’s only ever had a speeding infraction in his Douglas County District Court history.

It really wasn’t a great weekend for vehicles, apparently. But at least police were there to save the day with this one.

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, a good Samaritan reported seeing two subjects pushing a motorcycle out from behind a building in the 700 block of Vermont. The motorcycle was “taken a short distance,” then hidden close to another building and covered with a tarp, McKinley said.

Officers responded, contacting one suspect and issuing the man a citation for possession of stolen property. McKinley said the motorcycle was then returned to its owner.

Now, this happy ending may not have been possible if not for that watchful neighbor. The original call came in as a “suspicious activity” report. I can’t tell you enough how important it is to report things to dispatch that you find suspicious, because it might just be the tip that saves someone else a lot of heartache — or worse.

And now for our daily roundup of police calls. As always, I’ll remind you that this is a list of noteworthy calls I pulled from the Lawrence Police Department call log. Not all calls yielded police reports, and many may have gone unsubstantiated. The list is meant to give you an idea of what kinds of calls police are responding to within a given time period.

This list is a collection of calls that police responded to between Monday and Tuesday mornings:


  • Disturbance (verbal or physical arguments): 3

  • Domestic disturbance: 9

  • Battery: 4


  • Noninjury accident: 7

  • Injury accident: 2


  • Medical: 3

  • Suicide attempts: 1

  • Suicide threats: 2

Person crimes

  • Harassment: 3

  • Criminal threat: 3


  • Suspicious activity: 4

  • Fireworks: 1

  • Vicious animal: 3


  • Drug Activity: 3

Property crimes

  • Burglary: 2

  • Stolen vehicle: 1

  • Theft: 4

  • Criminal damage: 3

  • Trespassing: 5

Reply 1 comment from Bubba O' Reilly