UNCW investigation into longtime soccer coach continues

UNCW investigation into longtime soccer coach continues
Distirct Attorney Ben David announced Friday no criminal charges will be filed against former UNCW women's soccer coach Paul Cairney, who was accused of sexual misconduct. (Source: WECT)

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - It's been nearly two months since longtime UNCW women's soccer coach Paul Cairney was placed on administrative leave after a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct resurfaced on social media.

As the #MeToo movement gained traction last year, a woman made a series of posts on various social media platforms alleging Cairney molested her while she attended a soccer camp in 1997. The alleged victim was 15 years old at the time and told authorities the alleged incident took place in a dorm.

In 2007, the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office investigated the claim, but the case was closed after the alleged victim declined to pursue charges. When contacted by investigators in January, the woman again said she did not want to pursue criminal action against Cairney.

UNCW placed Cairney on administrative leave with pay Dec. 8, 2017. The university's Title IX employee inquiry into the allegation is ongoing, a spokesperson said Monday.

The university's unlawful discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct policy states when a complaint against an employee is filed, a written report prepared by a two-person team "should be" completed within 60 calendar days.

While a university spokesperson declined to provide when exactly the inquiry began, Tuesday will mark 60 calendar days since Cairney was placed on leave.

However, the university's policy does allow an extension to be granted provided written notice is delivered to both parties.

"We are adhering to the policy," the spokesperson said Monday.

Should a violation of the policy be found, "appropriate" disciplinary actions will be taken.

However, state and federal law would likely limit what would be released to the public.

Either party can file an appeal within 30 calendar days after notice of the decision.

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