Sunday, July 29, 2012

Head of UTEP Criminal Justice Program resigns amidst corruption scandal

The head of the University of Texas at El Paso's Criminal Justice Program recently resigned amidst allegations of impropriety and corruption, reported the El Paso Times this week ("UTEP's embattled professor to resign," July 27):
Fernando Rodriguez, the former head of UTEP's Criminal Justice Program who has ties to El Paso's public-corruption scandal, will resign effective Aug. 31, UTEP Executive Vice President Richard Adauto said Thursday.

Rodriguez, the target of an FBI investigation, was suspended in February after the El Paso Times reported that he had received more than $914,000 in outside employment between 2001 and 2009 without reporting it as required by University of Texas at El Paso rules. Additional documents showed that Rodriguez was paid an additional $233,000 by Aliviane Inc. in 2010, bringing his total pay by the nonprofit to more than $1.1 million.
Several projects evaluated by Rodriguez have led to federal investigations and so far resulted in two corruption convictions, including former County Judge Dolores Briones. The CEO of Alviane will go to trial this fall. See much more detail in the Times story.

Another questionable project Rodriguez worked on was a so-called "open sourced crime lab" which never quite lived up to its billing. The Times reported earlier this year ("UTEP: Agencies say university's Open Sourced Crime Lab hasn't given pledged help," March 25) that area law enforcement agencies had never heard of the project and few if any deliverables could be identified.

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