Concordia releases no details of Lempesis investigation
Updated: May 14, 2013 7:50PM
RIVER FOREST — A three-month Concordia University investigation into fired head baseball coach Spiro Lempesis’ alleged sexual misconduct has concluded with no additional details released by the university.
University President John Johnson last week said the continuing blackout on specifics was due to the sensitive nature of the investigation.
“We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement authorities should additional information be revealed or other witnesses come forward,” Johnson said in a statement.
However, Lempesis said in a phone interview last week the real reason for the lack of detail is there is nothing more to find.
He also contends the university panicked after receiving a police report about Lempesis in his car with a 16-year-old boy last June.
Lempesis was fired Sept. 29, 2010, after 10 years as head coach at Concordia.
In a letter to students and faculty Monday, Feb. 4, Johnson said former Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Collins had completed his investigation. Collins was the lead federal prosecutor in the corruption trial and of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan.
Johnson said Collins spent 520 hours on the investigation, interviewing “more than 70 witnesses,” including Lempesis, reviewing 45 gigabytes of data and digitized material and “thousands of pages” of other material.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the investigation, and given the extreme concern that numerous witnesses expressed about preserving strict confidentiality, there are limited details that I am able to share,” Johnson said.
The “scope and breadth of the investigation was significant, particularly considering the inherent constraints in conducting the process on an expedited basis and without any formal legal powers,” Johnson wrote in his letter.
“I am confident in the approach, process, and integrity of Mr. Collins and his team. Although they were unable to speak with reluctant witnesses or compel others who did not wish to participate to come forward, I assure you that the investigation was independent and thorough.”
Johnson has said the university started investigating last October after learning of an Elmhurst Police report that Lempesis was found in the rear seat of his car in a parking lot with a 16-year old boy at 2 a.m. last June.
The DuPage County state’s attorney said it “declined to approve charges against Lempesis due to both his denials of sexual activity and the boy’s insistence that he told Lempesis he was “18 or 19 years old.”
Lempesis has told the Forest Leaves he has never knowingly engaged in sexual activity with a minor.
“Of course not. Never. I’d never do that,” he said. “Absolutely not.”
Lempesis also accused Concordia of ruining his career prospects by citing the Elmhurst incident in an October press release -- two years after his firing.
He said it was he who contacted Collins and offered to talk.
“I’ve nothing to hide, so I met with him twice,” Lempesis said.
A former Concordia baseball player told the Forest Leaves he saw what he called “obscene” cell phone texts between Lempesis and a player.
Lempesis admitted sending the texts and agreed they were inappropriate and he deserved to be fired, but insisted the player contacted him first.
Lempesis also acknowledged a sexual relationship with one of his players, but said it was 18 months before his firing.
“I crossed the line and got in a relationship and that’s my fault,” he said. “I stopped it (after the first time). I realized it was wrong.”
Concordia would have treated him differently, he said, if he’d been involved with a female athlete.
“But because I was involved in a homosexual relationship with someone, I’m a demon, I’m garbage,” he said. “Joe Paterno and Sandusky, I get related to them? That’s garbage.”
He also said Concordia is ignoring what he’d done for the school.
“I accept responsibility, but this has gotten so far out of hand it’s ridiculous. I’m not an angel, but I don’t deserve what I got.”
He added that Collins “asked me if I was going to coach baseball again. I said, ‘What, are you serious? Who’s going to hire me?’”