by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2006
Highland, Heights, KY (LifeNews.com) — A Northern Kentucky University professor who led pro-abortion students in destroying a pro-life display the campus Right to Life group set up on the lawn outside the campus center has been charged with misdemeanors in the case.
Dr. Sally Jacobsen, a British literature professor, and six of the pro-abortion students involved have been charged with misdemeanors concerning their vandalism on April 12 of destroying a pro-life cross display meant to memorialize the number of unborn children who have died from abortion.
County Attorney Justin Verst indicated Jacobsen and students were charged with criminal mischief and theft by unlawful taking, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper.
Jacobsen was also given a third charge of criminal solicitation for encouraging and leading the students in trashing the pro-life display.
The theft charge is a class A misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and a $500 fine while the criminal mischief and criminal solicitation charges are class B misdemeanors and could result in 90 days of jail and a $250 fine.
Vert told the Cincinnati newspaper that additional charges may be filed as the identities of other students involved in the vandalism are determined.
The university has also placed Jacobsen, who had tenure at the time, on leave and she will retire at the end of the semester. Other professors have taken over her classes from the remainder of the year.
Margo Grubbs, Jacobsen’s lawyer, said she never meant to hurt the university by her actions and had no idea there would be such a national controversy over her criminal activities. But he also indicated Jacobsen will plead not guilty, saying the vandalism doesn’t constitute a violation of law.
"The intent was just an expression of freedom of speech," Grubbs said. "She saw harm coming from it, and she was just expressing her attitude towards the harm."
The six students involved and charged in the incident are Michelle Cruey, Katie Nelson, Heather Nelson, Stephanie Horton, Sara Keebler and Laura Caster. They have Jacobsen have a court date of May 11.
NKU sophomore Katie Walker, president of the Right to Life group told the newspaper she is happy that charges have been filed because they are appropriate.
"It wasn’t just theft. It wasn’t just vandalism. It was the violation of a right we hold sacred," Walker said, referring to free speech. "That kind of behavior needs to have repercussions."
The university has not yet decided if it will take any disciplinary actions against the students.
NKU president James Votruba said in a statement he issued last week that the college apologizes for the incident and that the university’s ability to foster debate and free speech on campus was jeopardized.
He indicated the actions of Jacobsen and pro-abortion students violated the free exchange of ideas a college should foster.
Votruba said the feedback has been positive and he’s proud of the way he’s handled the problem. He indicated it was important to have handled the issue quickly and the 300 emails he’s received back his decision.
"There have not been more than a half-dozen that were negative in terms of how this was handled," he said. "The overwhelming reaction was one of support for the focus on free speech and expression."
Related web sites:
Northern Kentucky University – https://www.nku.edu