The Citadel's board moves to hire Columbia attorney to guide investigation

The Board of Visitor's voted to hire Joseph McCulloch to recommend independent investigation teams and serve as liaison between the board and the company. (Provided by Joseph McCulloch)

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - The Citadel is one step closer to launching an investigation into how school leaders handled child sex abuse allegations.

Thursday The Citadel Board of Visitor's met and voted to hire an expert, expected to make recommendations of independent review companies to the board, as well as serve as liaison between the chosen company and the board.

"We wanted somebody who was totally independent from The Citadel. We didn't want the investigation reporting to the board. We wanted the investigators reporting to an independent person," Lt. General John Sams said.

The B.O.V. unanimously agreed to hire Joseph McCulloch, an attorney in Columbia, SC. He has experience with handling reports and investigations of higher education institutions, according to McCulloch. He also served as Associate Counsel for the University of South Carolina.

McCulloch says he also has experience dealing with child sex abuse cases as a private attorney and during his years as a prosecutor.

The Columbia attorney has not been officially contracted yet but says he's interested in accepting The Citadel's offer. McCulloch will be tasked by the B.O.V. to recommend at least three independent firms which could conduct an investigation into how the school handled allegations made by a former summer camper against former camp counselor Louis 'Skip' ReVille. The allegation was made in 2007 and reported to school leaders.

Investigators say ReVille went on to molest dozens of young boys around the Lowcountry for 10 years following his departure from The Citadel. ReVille pled guilty in June and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

Last year school officials said they never had reported the 2007 allegation to law enforcement, claiming they lost touch with the family.

The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) closed the case into whether the school's failure to report could lead to criminal charges, without any charges filed. After SLED closed its cases, school leaders say they were free to move forward with an investigation meant to create accountability at the school.

Citadel officials say they aren't sure how much McCulloch's contract or the investigation will cost and don't have a timeline for when the investigation may be completed.

First, McCulloch is expected to present the board with his recommendations at an August 24th meeting.

McCulloch wouldn't specify which companies he may recommend, but when asked whether they'd be in or out of state, McCulloch said he would provide the board with a "cross section of options."