Earlier this week, Mid-Continent University (MCU), a private, non-profit school operating in Mayfield, Ky., announced that it would begin laying off employees immediately and shutting down operations by the end of June. These recent developments have left many MCU students wondering what to do next, and I want students to know that my office is closely monitoring this situation. We are working with the Kentucky Council on Post Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, and MCU’s accreditor to ensure that students are able to graduate or finish out the semester next month. My Office of Consumer Protection and I are committed to working with students who may have concerns about the transfer of their credits to other institutions, their legal rights, and student loans. We have set up the website www.ag.ky.gov/mcu, which will be updated with the latest information available for MCU students. Students may also call our hotline, 502-696-5485, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Campbell County on Thursday, I joined Northern Kentucky University (NKU) President Geoffrey Mearns to announce the guilty plea of former NKU Athletic Director Scott Eaton. Eaton was charged with theft by unlawful taking for stealing more than $311,000 from the university between January 2007 and March 2013. Eaton stole the funds by defrauding NKU using a variety of schemes, and his reckless behavior was selfish and inexcusable. As a result of the guilty plea, Eaton agreed to serve the maximum term of 10 years in prison and repay NKU every penny he stole. I commend President Mearns for immediately contacting my office about this issue. I am also very proud of the great work of my investigators and prosecutors who were able to bring this case to a successful close.
Since 2010, I have traveled the state speaking to middle and high school students about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and heroin. I’ve heard the heartbreaking stories of parents losing their sons and daughters to a drug overdose, and I’ve comforted children who have cried on my shoulder because they, too, have experienced firsthand the loss of a family member due to a drug addiction. Addiction is ripping Kentucky families apart, and we are doing everything we can in the Office of the Attorney General to prevent it. I am disappointed that Kentucky lawmakers, during this year’s legislative session, did not pass the bipartisan heroin legislation that I helped craft with Sen. Katie Stine and Rep. John Tilley. We must act to confront the reality of a growing heroin epidemic in our state. Lives are at stake, and this legislation would have given law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to help address this issue. Our efforts must be refocused to pass this legislation and expand treatment for opiate addiction to address the abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin.
I was honored to speak at the Family & Children’s Place Building Brighter Futures Breakfast on Thursday morning. In Jefferson County alone, more than 11,000 children were involved in reports of suspected child abuse or neglect made to Child Protective Services in 2012. As your Attorney General, I’ve focused on putting people before politics, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and punishing those who wish to do our families harm. It is a privilege to work with members of the Family & Children’s Place to protect children from abuse and to help those heal who have suffered the trauma of abuse, violence, and neglect. Since I took office, we’ve awarded almost $150,000 in grants to the Family & Children’s Place. The grants are funded through our Child Victims’ Trust Fund and the Child Sexual Assault and Exploitation Prevention Board, which I chair. Our newly-designed website, ICareAboutKids.ky.gov, was created to make it easier for you to donate to the fund and to raise awareness about abuse and prevention. I hope you’ll visit the website to learn more about the programs that are truly making a difference in the lives of Kentucky children.
This week my Office of Victims Advocacy and I hosted the 2014 Kentucky Victim Assistance Conference. This year’s conference celebrated 30 years of the Victims of Crime Act by focusing on assisting our most vulnerable and underserved victims. I am grateful for all of our victim advocates who work tirelessly every day assisting victims of crime and their families. My office remains committed to victim advocacy and to ensuring justice and healing for crime victims throughout the Commonwealth.
It was also a pleasure to visit Goldsmith Elementary School on Monday to participate in the annual Real Men Read program. Real Men Read is an initiative that encourages students to read at an early age. I had the opportunity to read "Testing the Ice: A True Story About Jackie Robinson" to approximately 100 students at Goldsmith Elementary, and it was such a joy to see our children so eager to learn. The future of Kentucky looks very bright.
Finally, Elizabeth and I want to wish you and your family a safe and joyous Easter. We hope you have a great weekend.