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Former ISU president charged with misdemeanor

Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 11:06 p.m. CST

BLOOMINGTON – Illinois State University's former president was charged Tuesday with misdemeanor disorderly conduct related to an alleged altercation with an ex-groundskeeper at the school.

The charge against Timothy Flanagan in McLean County came just three days after he abruptly stepped down from the helm of the school in Normal, after just seven months on the job. Flanagan and the university's administrators have not publicly offered specific reasons for Flanagan's departure.

But Flanagan at the time was being investigated after a former grounds crew employee accused him of assault during a December argument about the care of the president's lawn.

In a statement Tuesday, McLean County State's Attorney Jason Chambers said Flanagan "yelled insults at the employee and continued to do so even while inches away from his face and flailing his arms around in a manner which alarmed and disturbed [the man]."

Flanagan has previously denied any wrongdoing. His attorney, Stephanie Wong, said in an email to The Associated Press that her earlier review of the matter leaves her confident Flanagan did nothing wrong. Wong declined further comment.

Flanagan is set to appear in court April 23, and a bond has not been set.

Chambers had said he planned to call for a special prosecutor to review the case to avoid a potential conflict of interest, given that Chambers' wife works at the university. But Chambers told WGLT Radio on Tuesday that Flanagan's departure from the university cleared the way for Chambers' office to prosecute the case.

After Flanagan's resignation last weekend, the university's governing board replaced him with Larry Dietz, the university's vice president for student affairs. Dietz was the runner-up to Flanagan in last year's presidential search.

Flanagan, formerly president of Framingham State University in Massachusetts, was appointed in May 2013 to replace Al Bowman, who left after a decade as ISU president. Flanagan took up his duties on Aug. 15 with a three-year contract that included an annual salary of $350,000 plus benefits.

The misdemeanor count is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, though in many cases a conviction has drawn a fine and court supervision.

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