Former coach wins review of grand jury demand
Fired UNR women’s soccer coach Terri Patraw on Thursday won a Supreme Court order sending her demand for a grand jury investigation of the University of Nevada, Reno back to district court for a hearing.
Patraw, mining research professor Richard Schweickert and Lane Grow filed the petition demanding a grand jury investigation. Their petition charges that “there have been many major violations of state laws that include fraud, embezzlement, forgery, obstruction of justice and perjury” by UNR officials.
But Washoe District Judge Janet Berry rejected the demand saying petitioners “failed to allege sufficient facts to establish any alleged crimes were committed,” which fit the statute they cited, NRS172.175. She said the statute limits inquiries to county public officers.
They followed that with an original petition to the Supreme Court repeating their allegations and asking that court to order a grand jury empaneled to hear their charges.
That petition charges that the attorney general’s office is either involved in the criminal conduct or is helping cover them up. It says UNR officials are engaged in a conspiracy to conceal public corruption that includes illegal spending of nearly $4 million in federal funding.
The high court declined to order a grand jury in the case, but referred the case back to Berry saying her conclusion was incorrect and that grand juries can investigate the conduct of any public officer.
The order directs Berry to hold an evidentiary hearing in the case and determine whether their evidence supports empaneling a grand jury.
Patraw is also continuing her fight to reclaim her job at UNR.
– Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 687-8750.