The University Record, April 19, 1999

Police Beat

By Rebecca A. Doyle

Arson Awareness Week is May 2-8

President Lee C. Bollinger has declared May 2-8 Arson Awareness Week at the University. Intentionally set blazes are estimated by the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee to cause more than $200 million in damages each year in Michigan and affect insurance premiums and tax dollars used to pay for control and investigation.

"These blazes erode the tax base, cause a severe loss to our cities, villages and neighborhoods and can destroy property and the security of employment," Bollinger noted in his proclamation.

Arson on the U-M campus has not been a significant problem, says Department of Public Safety (DPS) Lt. Wes Skowron, but a number of suspicious fire are noted each year in residence halls. Usually, they are limited to bulletin boards or hall doorways where papers and notices have been posted, Skowron says. Kiosks are been set afire several times each year. In March, four reports of arson on campus all originated in residence halls.

Former student faces charges in Internet pornography case

A 19-year-old man who has withdrawn from the University will face one charge of distributing child pornography on the Internet, a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $50,000 fine. His preliminary examination is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 12 in the Washtenaw Unified Court System.

The man is accused of using his computer and the University-operated Internet connection to distribute pornographic images over the Internet. DPS officers found more than 6,000 images on his personal computer, many of them of children, when they searched his room and confiscated his computer on March 15. DPS was contacted by law enforcement officials in Florida and alerted that "six images of children engaged in sexual situations" had been traced to a computer user at an Internet connection at the U-M, and from there to a posting through a residence hall Ethernet connection.

The former student was arrested March 18 and was released without bond.

Criminal sexual conduct case under investigation

DPS officers are investigating reports of instances of sexual harassment at University Hospitals. A woman employed by the Health System filed complaints with DPS that a male co-worker allegedly has on three occasions touched her inappropriately. The woman said that the incidents took place between Sept. 20, 1998, and Jan. 11, 1999. Officers are still investigating the incidents and no charges have yet been filed.

Hash Bash nets 74 citations, none to U-M students

DPS officers issued 74 citations April 3 during Hash Bash, and Ann Arbor police cited 80 revelers for alcohol or marijuana violations. None of the 74 were affiliated with the U-M. DPS cited 14 people for sales and soliciting, 13 for alcohol violations, 31 for marijuana possession or use, two for hashish delivery, one for failure to produce identification, five for skateboard violations, four for illegal use (underage) of tobacco and four for violations of the leash law. Skowron estimates the crowd at approximately 5,000.

In the past four years, only 6 students have been cited for violations during Hash Bash--five in 1998 and one in 1996.