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University News

McCormick claims witness intimidation in case

By
Metro Editor
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

William McCormick III’s lawyer filed papers in court Monday claiming witness intimidation in his lawsuit against the University, a female member of the class of 2010 and her father.

McCormick’s attorney also filed a motion to default against the University for failure to produce documents “promptly” in accord with a Sept. 24 court order compelling it to do so.

The motion against the female alum and her father alleges a similar failure to comply with the court order, in addition to the allegation of witness intimidation. If the motions carry, McCormick will automatically be awarded judgment in the case.

The motion alleges that the female alum’s father instructed Brosnan Risk Consultants, a private security firm, to harass former assistant wrestling coach Michael Burch — a witness in the case and advisor to McCormick in the University disciplinary process — and send him the message that he is being followed.

“The University has provided and will continue to provide relevant information in a timely manner,” wrote University spokeswoman Marisa Quinn in an e-mail to The Herald late Monday.

The female alum’s father did not respond to The Herald’s request for comment.

McCormick’s lawsuit stems from a 2006 accusation of rape made against him by the female alum during their first days at Brown. It alleges that the accusation was made falsely and that the University treated him unfairly in part because the female alum’s father is a major donor and fundraiser for the University.

The Herald is withholding the name of the female alum because she may have been the victim of a sex crime.

McCormick forewent the University judicial process and signed a release stipulating that he withdraw from Brown. McCormick’s lawyer at the time, Walter Stone, represented him while his law firm Adler, Pollack & Sheehan was representing the University in another matter, and did not disclose this fact to McCormick.

The University has denied wrongdoing in the matter.

Joseph Cavanagh, a lawyer for the female alum and her father, maintains that his client was in fact raped. Cavanagh did not return The Herald’s request for comment.

According to an affidavit signed by Burch and submitted in support of the motion to default, a package was hand-delivered Sept. 27 to his girlfriend’s house with an envelope addressed to “Mr. Burch.” According to the affidavit, none of Burch’s friends know the address of his girlfriend’s house.

The envelope contained an invitation for Burch and a guest to enjoy a free meal at the Downcity Diner — located across the street from the offices of McCormick’s attorney — in order “to show our appreciation for everything you do.” The invitation did not say who sent it, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states that Burch observed two women inside the restaurant who appeared to be looking for someone, and that his server later confirmed that the women had given the restaurant cash to pay for the meal and described Burch’s physical appearance so that the restaurant’s employees would recognize him.

The following day a woman purporting to be from a company that hand-delivers anonymous gifts called Burch on his cell phone to solicit feedback, and he informed her he considered the gift “a possible threat,” the affidavit states.

Later that day he received a voicemail from the woman assuring him that she was looking into the matter and would get back to him shortly. The woman did not return several phone calls from Burch over the following days, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit states that the phone number used to call Burch was traced to Bronxville, N.Y.

Bronxville is the hometown of the female alum’s father, according to court papers.

According to a declaration signed by an attorney at Chisholm, Chisholm & Kilpatrick, which represents McCormick, the ownership of the number was traced through a series of companies to a phone service called “Vumber.” The service bills itself as “your regular phone number’s secret identity” and “offers total anonymity,” according to its website.

Attached to the declaration is an e-mail from a Vumber employee in response to a subpoena identifying the number’s owner as Patrick Brosnan, the founder of the private security firm Brosnan Risk Consultants.

A prominent former New York City Police Department Detective, Brosnan is described by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani as “the most aggressive Detective in New York,” on his company’s website.

The website also includes a testimonial from the father of the female alum, which states, “I have retained Brosnan Risk Consultants for both business and personal matters.”

Filed along with the motions are e-mails produced during discovery that show the female alum’s father communicating with Brosnan about the rape accusation in 2006. Brosnan did not respond to an e-mail and a voicemail from The Herald requesting comment.

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