by Steven Ertelt
May 24, 2006
Highland Heights, KY (LifeNews.com) — The criminals charges against a Northern Kentucky University professor who led a group of pro-abortion students to destroy a pro-life display on campus may be dropped. That would occur if the dispute can be resolved through mediation with university officials and members of the campus Right to Life group.
Two weeks ago, LifeNews.com reported that prosecutors refused to drop the charges against British literature professor Sally Jacobsen in exchange for community service. Prosecutors did drop the charges against the six students involved in the vandalism.
Campbell District Judge Karen Thomas said Tuesday in a hearing that the mediation between Jacobsen and NKU and the pro-life students must be resolved by June 27 or the criminal case against her will proceed, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer news report.
Jacobsen was charged with theft, criminal mischief and criminal solicitation, all misdemeanor charges. The charges came after Jacobsen led the students in destroying 400 crosses the campus pro-life group displayed to mourn the deaths of more than 34 million unborn children to abortion.
Jacobsen encouraged the students, members of one of her classes, to destroy the display and eventually led them in doing so. They were caught on camera by a reporter from the student newspaper.
After the hearing, Jacobsen again commented on her role in the case.
"I never intended to deny anyone of their free speech," Jacobsen, according to the Enquirer. "I never intended to hurt anyone."
Jacobsen’s comments about her involvement have vacillated from insisting she had the right to destroy the pro-life display to apologizing. She later encouraged the students involved to avoid talking to the police and obtaining attorneys.
Jacobsen was suspended by Northern Kentucky University for the remainder of the school year and her classes given to other professors to complete. She will retire at the end of the semester.
Jacobsen’s attorney, Margo Grubbs, said Jacobsen wants to resolve the matter as quickly as possible because she has moved to Portland, Oregon to retire.
Also during the hearing, Judge Thomas did not rule on a motion to quash a prosecution subpoena for any additional photos of Jacobsen and the students vandalizing the display that were not published in the student newspaper.
Previously, Judge Thomas told the students they need to follow through on the community service or they would be back before her facing the charge.
"You need to understand — you need to do exactly what they tell you," Thomas said.
Thomas Beiting, who represents one of the students in the case, said Jacobsen told them they would not get in trouble because she claimed the Northern Right to Life student pro-life group did not have permission to put up the display. The group had actually obtained a permit from the university.
"These girls did not believe they would get in trouble," Beiting said.
The pro-abortion students involved in the vandalism included: Michelle Cruey, 21, of Walton, Ky.; Katie Nelson, 21, and Heather Nelson, 27, both of Dayton, Ky.; Stephanie Horton, 23, of Alexandria, Ky.; Sara Keebler, 25, of Cincinnati, and Laura Caster, 23, of Highland Heights, Ky.