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Caycee Bean opens up about UW-La Crosse Professor, misconduct investigation

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) --- Caycee Bean made her first public appearance Thursday morning. Bean spoke about former UW-La Crosse art professor and Art Department chair Joel Elgin.

Bean accused Elgin of sexually harassing during her freshman year, stating that he made comments about her body and tried to lift her shirt up.

On Thursday, Bean responded to a statement released to the media by Joel Elgin's attorney Cheryl Gill.

"I refuse to continue to be victimized by Joel and his attorney," said Bean. "His attorney's words were meant to hurt and intimidate me and many others who've come forward. Joel's response is a textbook case of why so many victims don't come forward."

Bean said that over 23 students and faculty had come forward to her about Elgin's conduct.

Gill's statement defended her client's time at UW-La Crosse.

"Indeed, Professor Elgin consistently received glowing reviews from his art students," said Gill. "Now, just one student, along with her minions, has “cancelled” Professor Elgin, his career and his reputation. This student continued to take classes from Professor Elgin after the alleged incident (which allegedly happened four (4) years before her complaint) despite the availability of other art professors and other art classes."

"This isn't just recent stuff," said Bean. "He's been doing this for a very long time and has been getting away with it for a very long time."

The initial investigation resulted in instruction for Elgin not to contact Bean, which is fairly standard protocol for this type of investigation.

"They said that they were going to be giving me updates all along throughout the investigation and I never received any updates in the first investigation and that's why I came out the way that I did," said Bean.

The investigation was reopened in September after Bean made a Facebook post that went viral. Within a week, Elgin was placed on leave and replaced as the Art Department chairperson.

"Complaints of sexual misconduct should be investigated thoroughly," said Gill in the statement. "The credibility of the alleged harasser and the complainant should be considered. That wasn't done in this case."

Elgin's attorney stated that he cooperated with investigators and had no problem meeting with Chancellor Gow but decided to retire instead. The decision to retire came about after Elgin decided to not risk losing any future healthcare benefits, worth thousands of dollars, that he had accrued during his time at the university.

WXOW reached out to Chancellor Joe Gow for comment. He said he didn't have anything to add to the story.

Earlier this week, Gow sent a letter to staff and faculty stating that the report compiled by investigators was "compelling enough to move the process of dismissing a faculty member to its next phase."

Chancellor Gow said the investigation is complete but the report has not been publicized. Elgin has authority over whether or not the report will be openly published.

Bean does not plan to file charges against Elgin and said she was content with removing him from UW-La Crosse's campus.

Mike Beiermeister

WXOW Weekend Anchor and Reporter

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