Topeka, KS (WIBW) Washburn University President Dr. Jerry Farley has found himself in a bit of controversy this week surrounding a letter that he wrote on behalf of a University employee.
The letter was written to District Judge Gary Nafziger on behalf of the wife of Richard Blevins, a former state fire inspector who pleaded no contest to sexually soliciting a 13-year-old girl.
"A University employee working here in my office 11 years is married to Mr. Blevins. This has been a particularly difficult time for her and her family with these charges brought against her husband. She asked me if I would write a letter to the court, I agreed to do it as an act of compassion, kindness and friendship to give her support," Farley told 13 News Tuesday.
The controversy over the letter dated May 19, 2008 surrounds the fact that it was written on Washburn University stationary.
The letter says:
"Dear Judge Nafziger,
I have known Richard Blevins for over 10 years and find him to be very dedicated to his wife and family. His dedication continued with his work as a law enforcement officer for over 30 years, most recently as a criminal arson investigator. He is quite knowledgeable about the law and of upholding the law, so I was quite surprised when his wife told him of the allegations made by their step-granddaughter.
Richard is scheduled to come before your court next month for sentencing. As you know better than I, punishment is achieved in many ways. As I understood it, there was eight sexual assault charges filed against him, then these were all dropped and he has plead no contest to solicitation of a minor. I do know that the highly public and humiliating exposure of the allegations has had a very punishing effect on Richard.
I urge you to consider placing Mr. Blevins on probation as the sentencing grid indicates instead of a prison term. I know you will be fair and attempt to balance the community's interest with Mr. Blevins."
"I couldn't condone in any way the act that Mr. Blevins has been convicted of, my actions were to support her," Farley added.
Questions are being raised why the President wrote the letter on University stationary.
"I made an error in sending this letter on University stationary," Farley admitted, "It was not in any means a position of the University, it was a personal matter. I shouldn't have put it on University stationary, I regret doing that."