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Military college "sorry" about sex abuse inaction

By Harriet McLeod

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - The president of The Citadel said on Tuesday he was "profoundly sorry" the South Carolina military college failed to tell police about child sexual abuse allegations against a man who had served as a summer camp counselor at the institution.

The Citadel disclosed the matter on Saturday in the wake of unrelated allegations of child sexual abuse by a former assistant football coach at Penn State University.

The college, located in Charleston, said on Saturday it had investigated in 2007 the allegations against the man -- who was arrested last month on separate charges of abusing five boys -- but did not report the matter to police.

Citadel President John Rosa told a news conference on Monday: "This should have been reported (to police)."

"We're profoundly sorry, sorry that we didn't pursue it more. We acted on what we thought was our best information. ... We're all held accountable," Rosa told reporters.

"I am saddened and sickened that someone so close has betrayed our trust," Rosa added.

The Citadel released documents on Monday linked to the 2007 internal probe of child abuse allegations brought by a former Citadel summer camper against Louis Neal "Skip" ReVille.

ReVille was arrested last month on charges of abusing boys in the Charleston suburb of Mount Pleasant and police have said he has admitted to the crimes, with more charges pending.

A graduate of The Citadel, ReVille had worked as a counselor at the school's camp for three summers between 2001 and 2003. The Citadel closed its camp in 2006. ReVille had also worked elsewhere as a school principal and sports coach.

SHARING WITH POLICE

The Citadel said it was now sharing all its information with police, and had hired a consulting firm to review the college's procedures in the matter and recommend improvements.

In 2007, the former Citadel summer camper said that five years earlier, when he was 14, ReVille had invited him and another camper to his room, showed them pornography on his computer, and that they had masturbated.

Rosa said the 2007 abuse complaint came to his office, and that The Citadel's in-house counsel interviewed the young man and his family. He said that at the time, he did not believe he was required by state law to report child sexual abuse.

Mandatory reporters under South Carolina law include school teachers, school counselors and school principals.

"The way I understand the law, in 2006 and 2007 we were not required to mandatorily report," Rosa said. "That's certainly no excuse. The law has been changed. Today we are."

"Mr. ReVille is responsible for what happened to other victims," Rosa said. "By not doing enough, we play a critical role in the events."

The documents released by the college include a 160-page interview with the camper, who told The Citadel's attorney Mark Brandenburg that he and other campers used to hang out in ReVille's room "and then one night, he pulled out a pornographic video and put it in and started masturbating."

"He encouraged everyone in the room to join in. And they did. And I guess he made an agreement with these kids that he would keep buying them Chinese food and pizza and all these good things and give them privileges if they continued to come to his room," the interview document said.

In 2006, The Citadel settled a civil lawsuit by child victims of sex crimes by another Citadel summer camp counselor, U.S. Marine officer Michael Arpaio, for $3.8 million, said Jeff Perez, vice president for external affairs. Arpaio was court-martialed by the U.S. Marine Corps, Perez said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Will Dunham)

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