COCC board removed the college president hopeful from consideration after learning he was on leave at his current job

An April 9 public records request, filed by The Bend Bulletin, has revealed that Patrick Lanning, Central Oregon Community College's intended top pick to be its next president, has been accused of sexual misconduct by a Chemeketa Community College colleague.

On March 7, COCC named Lanning as their top candidate to be the school's next president. On April 9, the college was forced to reverse its decision after learning that Lanning had been placed on administrative leave, effective Feb. 11, by Chemeketa.

The tort claim obtained by The Bulletin, filed with Chemeketa on Feb. 24, indicates an employee's threat to sue "for acts of sexual abuse, or sexual contact" by Lanning.

The action is alleged to have occurred "in the claimant's hotel room at the Sheraton Portland Airport Hotel" on the evening of Feb. 6.

In a Mar. 11 story in the Central Oregonian, COCC Board Chair Bruce Abernathy indicated a high degree of confidence in Lanning, indicating they did not anticipate any issues.

"We clearly have done a lot of due diligence to date," he said. "There are a lot of checks that can be done at no or low cost."

As a result of their findings, COCC has announced that current school President Jim Middleton, scheduled to retire on June 30, will stay on as president through mid-September. Dr. Shirley Metcalf, COCC’s Dean of Extended Learning, will be named as interim president on Sept. 15.

COCC’s Board plans to launch a new search for a permanent replacement in October, with the new president to begin in July 2015.

Lanning was raised in the Prineville area and was a standout student athlete at Crook County High School in the mid-1980s.

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