CONTACT: ANN RHODES
307 E College
Iowa City IA 52242
Release: April 20, 2000
Arrest is made in College of Dentistry e-mail case
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- At 12:30 a.m. Thursday, April 20,
officers from the University of Iowa Public Safety Department arrested Tarsha
Michelle Claiborne in connection with racist e-mail and a bomb threat directed
to individuals at the College of Dentistry.
Claiborne was taken to the Johnson County jail where
she is being held pending arraignment. She is charged with three counts of
harassment in the 3rd degree (a simple misdemeanor) in connection with three
e-mail messages; one count of criminal trespass (a serious misdemeanor) in
connection with an incident at a student's apartment; and one count of threats
in violation of individual rights (a Class "C" felony) in connection with
a bomb threat.
"It is essential that we acknowledge the superb police
work done by the department of public safety," stated Ann Rhodes, vice president
for university relations and university spokesperson. "We are deeply appreciative
for the help provided by the FBI, the Iowa City police department, Information
Technology Services (ITS) and other agencies that provided assistance."
After the first two e-mail messages were received,
the computer from which they were sent was located. That area was kept under
surveillance, and Claiborne was identified. A search warrant was obtained
and according to the complaint, Claiborne admitted to sending the four e-mail
messages that targeted minority students and faculty.
At this time, the investigation is continuing and
additional security measures at the Dental Building will remain in effect.
"This has been an enormously difficult situation for
the entire community. I am pleased that we appear to be nearing the end of
this series of events," Rhodes said. "It is time to reaffirm our commitment
to diversity and to work together as a community to get past this."
"This is a shock to all of us, and we need to begin
a healing process and to use this opportunity to achieve a better and stronger
community," said David Johnsen, dean of the College of Dentistry.
A Class C felony carries a penalty of up to 10 years
in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 (sec. 902.9(3)).
A serious misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to one
year in prison and a fine of up to $1,500 (sec. 903.1(1)(a)).
A simple misdemeanor carries a penalty of up to 30
days in jail and a fine of up to $500 (sec. 903.1(1)(a)).
The university may impose additional sanctions.