Morehouse College staffer put on leave while school investigates sexual misconduct accusations

Posted at 6:49 PM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 08:47:17-04

Morehouse College has placed one of its staffers on unpaid leave amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations leveled by at least two students and a former student, the historically black university said in statements.

Student Michael Key made his allegations public in a video on Twitter last week, saying that DeMarcus Crews — who, according to LinkedIn, had been serving as the interim director of housing and residential education since May at the all-male school in Atlanta — had made unwanted advances during Key’s freshman year.

The episodes sent him into depression, and he shared the allegations with only a few friends, he said.

“I just started breaking down crying today,” Key said in the video.

A man answering Crews’ phone told CNN that Crews wasn’t taking calls. Crews’ LinkedIn profile says he graduated from Morehouse in 2015 and began working for the university the same year.

Morehouse College said it’s investigating the accusations and it had reached out to the students who posted allegations.

“DeMarcus Crews has been put on unpaid administrative leave effective immediately pending more information from the investigation,” the school said in a Wednesday statement.

Key’s allegations sparked an online conversation in which other students have come forward with similar accusations, some of them implicating other Morehouse staff members.

In a Thursday statement, the school said: “Morehouse College is expanding its sexual misconduct investigation to include the examination of new complaints filed against additional employees. The new complaints were reported Wednesday following allegations made by students on social media.”

A second student, identified as Bryson Hill, also shared his story on Twitter, saying Crews sexually harassed him. He would not say whether he had retained legal counsel.

Then John Franklin, a former student, came forward and also accused Crews of making unwanted sexual advances when he attended Morehouse in 2014 and 2015.

Speaking Monday at a news conference at his lawyer’s office, Key said he’s heard similar stories from students at Morehouse and other colleges in Atlanta.

“It’s something that I didn’t know a lot of people experience, especially a lot of men experience,” he said.

Key’s mother, Selena Brewer, said she was angry at the college.

“I feel like Morehouse has failed us as parents. I feel like Morehouse has failed the students,” she said. “I want to see change. I want to see justice.”

CNN does not name victims of sexual assault, but Key made his story public and hired an attorney. Morehouse has also responded to his allegations. CNN reached out to Hill, who identified himself in his Twitter video. CNN spoke to Franklin, who gave permission to use his name.

It is not clear whether any of the alleged victims filed police reports. Key’s lawyer, Tiffany Simmons, said her client would file a criminal complaint with police.

Asked if it had received any reports of sexual misconduct by Crews, the Atlanta Police Department said, “We have assisted Morehouse with investigations when requested, but we are not actively involved with any at present.”

It referred additional questions to Morehouse police, which did not return CNN’s calls or emails seeking comment.

Saying “the education and development of the men of Morehouse is our top priority,” Morehouse encouraged all victims of sexual misconduct to call its ethics and compliance hotline.

“Morehouse’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures provide for disciplinary action, including dismissal, if any student, faculty, or staff member engages in inappropriate behavior,” it said in a statement.