FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - A Northern Arizona University art lecturer suspected of fatally shooting his girlfriend and then killing himself had been facing sexual assault allegations, according to police.
A 20-year-old NAU student contacted Flagstaff police in August to report that her former art professor, 36-year-old Jeriah Hildwine, had sexually assaulted her at his home, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office.
On Sept. 23, Hildwine was found dead alongside his girlfriend 23-year-old Ashley Darby in a wooded area of the San Francisco Peaks, reported The Arizona Daily Sun (https://bit.ly/1HUZ6OC ). Coconino County officials declared Darby’s death a homicide and Hildwine’s a suicide.
Sexual assault is a fireable offense under NAU’s policy. Consensual sexual relationships between faculty and students are also prohibited if the instructor has direct authority over the student.
The student described two parties at Hildwine’s house, one in May and one in June, and that involved group sex and underage drinking. She said she was also sexually assaulted by Hildwine while having dinner at his house on a separate occasion.
Sheriff’s Office detectives also said Hildwine and another man knowingly had sex with a 17-year-old girl during one party.
The NAU student had a sexual assault examination done after the June party. She filed the police report on Aug. 21 and Hildwine was suspended on Aug. 27.
“Things did move very quickly,” said NAU Director of Public Affairs Cindy Brown. “NAU placed Jeriah Hildwine on leave prior to the start of fall classes. He resigned while on leave and prior to classes starting.”
Hildwine submitted his resignation on Aug. 30.
“Rather than subject everyone, myself included, to the stress of this investigation, I need to take responsibility for my actions,” he wrote in the letter.
Hildwine and his girlfriend met with an attorney on the afternoon of Sept. 2. He is the last person confirmed to have seen them alive.
Darby’s father reported her missing the next day.
Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, https://www.azdailysun.com/
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