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Take steps to avoid liability


Risk managers at colleges and universities often require background checks for faculty and sexual misconduct training, which includes reporting rules, experts say.

A first step after an allegation is made is to perform a thorough and adequate investigation of the allegation to develop a legal strategy, said Natasha Baker, senior associate representing private and public institutions of higher education at law firm Curiale Hirschfeld Kraemer L.L.P. in San Francisco.

Devising a strategy before an incident is essential, she said.

“That is consistently one of the hardest be guiding someone through an investigation in a big case whose never done it before,” she said.

Dan Hurley, senior director of risk management and safety for Norfolk Public Schools in Norfolk, Va., said his schools have a central reporting place and a department dedicated to investigating all allegations.

“The first step is to notify our compliance investigators, who then would take the complaint and interview the individuals. If there's any substance to it based on what they're hearing, they would follow the state guidelines and notify the police and work with the police department in doing a proper investigation,” Mr. Hurley said.

Loss control best practices include clear instruction of staff “on how to report incidents and the action plan should include reporting the incident to the local authorities and also engaging a capable internal or outside spokesperson,” said Robert T. Lipps, executive director of Lockton Alliance for Ministry Protection, a San Francisco unit of Lockton Cos. L.L.C.