UT Foundation has first board meeting after COO's arrest

UT Foundation has first board meeting after COO's arrest

Posted:
Bruce Downsbrough (Source: Blount County Sheriff's Office) Bruce Downsbrough (Source: Blount County Sheriff's Office)
UT Foundation board members voted to appoint the treasurer as acting COO after Downsbrough was fired. UT Foundation board members voted to appoint the treasurer as acting COO after Downsbrough was fired.

By STEPHANIE BEECKEN
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A group that helps raise money for the University of Tennessee met Tuesday for the first time since one of its executives was arrested on child porn charges.

Bruce Downsbrough was arrested last month on campus after federal officials say they discovered the executive vice-president with more than 20,000 pornographic images.

On Tuesday, the board of directors for the UT Foundation met for the first time since the arrest. The meeting lasted two and a half hours.

Board members discussed future fundraising goals and strategies and voted to temporarily appoint the treasurer, Lisa Taylor, as acting COO. Downsbrough was fired from the position in May.

UT Foundation President Johnnie Ray said he will start working on plans to hire a new COO next week and will bring in a consultant. 

Ray said the foundation may reorganize and split the COO's duties into two roles.

As far as background checks, Ray says the University and UT Foundation did not start doing background checks until 2011. Downsbrough was hired before this requirement. 

In court on June 3, investigators testified that Downsbrough had two previous charges of child molestation stemming from an incident in 1986 in Boulder, Colo. in which he molested two boys.

Ray said the University and UT Foundation are considering doing nationwide background checks on all employees hired before 2011 that have not previously undergone the check.

Ray said the arrest has not negatively impacted donations and said this year has been one of the better fundraising years they've had.

He said donors understand the alleged activities did not cross with Downsbrough work with the UT Foundation.

Ray said Downsbrough was an excellent employee.

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