SBI opens investigation into UNCW women's soccer coach

SBI opens investigation into UNCW women's soccer coach
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) - The SBI is investigating UNCW women's head soccer coach Paul Cairney, who has been on paid administrative leave since early December.

New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David confirmed the inquiry started on Feb. 5 at the request of his office and the police chief for UNCW and sheriff's office.

Cairney has been on leave after an allegation of sexual misconduct dating back to 1997 surfaced on social media. In 2007, the sheriff's office investigated the claim, but closed the case after the alleged victim declined to pursue charges.

When contacted again last month, the woman stated she did not want to pursue criminal action against Cairney.

This will confirm that I, together with UNCW Chief of Police David Donaldson and Sheriff Ed McMahon of the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, have jointly requested the State Bureau of Investigation to conduct an investigation into allegations surrounding soccer coach Paul Cairney, who is on paid administrative leave at UNCW. This request was made on February 5, 2018. - New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David.

David did not explain in the statement why the request was made two months after the university's investigation started.

University officials confirmed Friday the Title IX employee inquiry is continuing and did not have a comment on this latest development. When asked about this news Friday at the home opener for the baseball team, UNCW Director of Athletics Jimmy Bass was unaware of the new investigation and declined comment.

We have reached out to Cairney's attorney, Bruce Mason, for comment. We will update this story as more information becomes available.

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