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EXCLUSIVE: Secret Recording in Brown Rape Case

Friday, January 20, 2012


A former Brown University assistant wrestling coach secretly recordered a conversation with the lawyer representing the 24-year-old former student who was suing the school after being falsely accused of rape in 2006, revealing never before released details about settlement discussions that took place a month before an agreement was quietly reached.

In the more-than 20 minute recording obtained exclusively by GoLocalProv, Michael Burch, who coached William R. McCormick III at Brown, and J. Scott Kilpatrick, who was representing McCormick, discuss the settlement amount recommended by a mediator as Kilpatrick attempts to gauge Burch’s willingness to sign a confidentially release that would have left him unable to disparage the school, McCormick’s accuser or her father.

On the tape, Kilpatrick says Rhode Island mediator William Poore recommended $850,000 be paid to McCormick by the accuser’s father, an amount McCormick’s family believed to be too low and the accuser’s family said was too high. Poore later came back to Kilpatrick and raised the recommendation to $1,050,000, but also inquired about getting Burch to sign a release that would stop him from discussing the case any further.

“After listening to Kilpatrick’s opening statement, we now realize that there is a lot out there about Brown too; we thought that was kind of an afterthought, the case against Brown,” Kilpatrick says quoting the mediator’s conversation with the accuser’s father. “And if we’re going to settle this case, we want to settle it for Brown too. They want to make this thing go away, period.”

Brown Denies Involvement

McCormick was a freshman at Brown in 2006 when he was given a one-way ticket to his home in Wisconsin after a classmate accused of him raping her in her dorm room that fall. The accuser’s father is a Brown alumnus who is also a major donor to the school.

According to the lawsuit, the rape accusation was never reported to the police and McCormick reached a private settlement with the accuser’s lawyer that resulted in him withdrawing from school and no criminal charges being filed.

The more-than five year saga ended last December when McCormick’s federal lawsuit against his accuser and the University was dismissed after a mutual agreement was reached. The University has denied having any involvement in the settlement.

But in the recording, which took place a month before the final agreement was reached, Kilpatrick makes it clear that he believed the University would be willing to offer money.

“I told Will and I believe this to be true, I think if Brown was left on their own, I think they’d capitulate. They’d throw some money at it after Will’s deposition. Even if Will’s deposition went badly, I think they’d throw some money at it. He said ‘how much is that?’ I said I don’t know, maybe it’s $50,000, maybe it’s $75,000, maybe it’s $100,000, maybe it’s $200,000, but it’s something.”

In a statement to GoLocalProv, University spokeswoman Marisa Quinn again denied the University made a contribution to the settlement.

“I can tell you that the University is not a party to the settlement reached in the McCormick case,” Quinn said. “It has made no contribution to the settlement, nor has it made any accommodation to either party in an effort to reach an agreement. Any statement to the contrary is false. The University acted appropriately and stood ready at all times during the litigation to prove in court that it had acted appropriately and in accordance with applicable laws, policies and procedures.”

“She’ll be dangerous”

Burch represented McCormick during disciplinary hearings at Brown following the rape accusation in 2006 and has spoken to various media outlets about the way the case was handled. He claims Brown used its power and influence to unfairly dismiss McCormick.

In the recording, Burch explains to Kilpatrick that he does not believe not signing a confidentiality release would prevent a settlement from taking place, to which Kilpatrick tells Burch that he disagrees. The wide-ranging conversation begins with Kilpatrick explaining that he hoped to find a mediator that wasn’t from Rhode Island.

“I didn’t actually want to use [William Poore] for this case because he was from Rhode Island,” Kilpatrick says. “I wanted to get it to Boston or somewhere else. We tried to get it to the mediator who mediated a lot of the church sex abuse cases.”

Kilpatrick goes on to explain that he sat with both the accuser and the accuser’s father, complimenting them on their behavior during the meeting, but also making note of concerns he had over the accuser.

“She’ll be dangerous, she’ll be dangerous if she testifies,” he says.

Later in the conversation, Kilpatrick explains that signing a “mutual release” would mean two things for Burch: 1) It would release him from any litigation involving the accuser’s family or the University; and 2) “You don’t say anything bad about each other.”

Burch Responds

Burch never signed the release.

In an interview with GoLocalProv, Burch called McCormick a “very brave soul” for fighting against the University over the last several years.

“I think we are all indebted to William McCormick for standing up and fighting as long and hard as he did,” Burch said.

Kilpatrick did not wish to comment for this story.

Editor’s Note: GoLocalProv’s policy is to not release the names of those who claim they were sexually assaulted, which is why the names of the accuser and her father are not included in this story.


September 2006 - William McCormick is accused of raping a freshman in her dorm room. A police report is not filed and the McCormick is handed a one-way ticket home to Wisconsin. Assistant wrestling coach Michael Burch serves as advisor to McCormick.

October 2006 - McCormick withdraws from school after reaching an agreement with the accuser's father.

September 2009 - McCormick's lawyer Scott Kilpatrick files a federal lawsuit against accuser and Brown University.

November 2011 - Kilpatrick reaches out to Burch to see if he would be willing to sign a confidentiality release.

December 2011 - Agreement is reached between McCormick, the accuser and the school.

January 2012 - Burch releases secretly taped conversation between he and Kilpatrick.


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Article after article shows what kind of a corrupt cesspool our beloved Rhode Island really is. All the money coverups, all the tax evasions, all the pensions, all the abuse, all the Disability awards given unjustly, it goes on and on. DO NOT come to us taxpayers for any more money UNTIL all this graffe and abuse and corruption is gone. So much money going to Dems and Labor Unions and connected people and not back to the hard working Citizens of RI. Hey RI, lets clean house this November AND in 2014, starting with Sen Reed, Whitehouse,Langevin, Cicciline and our state Legislature. IT is time that the message be sent where it hurts. YOUR FIRED. Nancy from Narragansett

Comment #1 by nancy crawley on 2012 01 20

This web site is the biggest rag I've ever read. It makes the Projo look like the Times of London.

Comment #2 by Ace Frehley on 2012 01 20

I don't get it. Why would a rich, powerful Brown alum not want his daughter's rapist to be tried and convicted? And why would he pay big money to the rapist?

Comment #3 by John McGrath on 2012 01 20


Comment #4 by Depa Slatter on 2012 01 20

Brown is standing behind their professor, Dr Timothy Kinsella, whom they hired in the mist of the McCormick case, though he faced similar allegations in OH. After the patient filed her complaint of sexual misconduct against Dr Kinsella he stepped down as the Chairman of the Dept of Radiation Oncology at Case Western. A few months later he “stopped seeing patients” at University Hospitals of Cleveland before packing his bags and leaving OH. He spent 1 yr at Stony Brook where things didn’t pan out and they chose not to offer him a contract. RI Hospital and Brown hired him several months later. Apparently the past allegations that have followed him from state to state were not a problem for either Brown or RI Hospital. Dr Kinsella is in the process of attempting to sue the former patient though the case is almost a year old and hasn’t progressed beyond her motion to dismiss. His options are to drop the case or file his complaint clearly defining what he considers to be defamation and why. The suit stems around a website that outlines allegations and investigations concerning him in multiple states. How does Brown explain hiring this professor into the University, yet dismissing McCormick?

Comment #5 by AL W on 2012 01 20

Sure they'll pay blackmail but no taxes.

Comment #6 by Jim D on 2012 01 20

you really have to read the court documents on pacer to get a real understanding of this case.

i listened to cianci interview the coach friday and it was pretty obvious that cianci should have donne alot more research research on the case before the interview. (shame on you buddy, i am a fan but this was not a good interview. )

after reading all this info, the kid should have settled for $5 million. he was really railroaded....this is shameful episode.. lots of people really did some unconscionable things.

money talks...i give credit for golocal prov for pursueing it.

Comment #7 by john paycheck on 2012 01 21

Didn't Brown, as a result of the obvious injustices in this case, change its policies on processing student-on-student sexual complaints? As I recall, when this case came up, the policy stated that the male is always wrong, always at fault, circumstances and facts making no difference.

Comment #8 by John McGrath on 2012 01 21

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