A top administrator at Morehouse College in Atlanta has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least two, and possibly more, students. Director of Housing and Residential Education DeMarcus K. Crews is alleged to have sexually harassed and assaulted two male students, both of whom shared their stories via Twitter videos. Crews has also served the college as an assistant dean.
Morehouse College is a private, historically Black men’s college in Atlanta.
Less than 16 hours after the first video post, it appears, though has not been confirmed by the college, that Crews has resigned. He still appears on the college website as a part of the student housing “leadership team.”
A screenshot from another tweet appears to show Crews resigning. Crews made his Twitter private Wednesday.
Earlier Wednesday, repeated requests by Heavy for comment, via phone and email, to Morehouse College public information officer Aileen Dodd, the Title IX director’s office, which lists Cassandra Rose as director on the college’s website but another individual identified herself as the director, various other administrators and Crews, all went unanswered or were not returned.
Two young men whose Twitter handles are GrindAlways_ and BrysonKarter, told of their encounters with Crews that were described as sexually “predatory” at best and “assault” at worst.
The college’s student government issued a statement on Twitter saying it reached out to the college administration.
“We, the Indelible Administration of the Morehouse College Student Government Association, are in support of our fellow Morehouse Students and condemn any acts of sexual violence and assault here at Morehouse College. We have reached out to the college administration and are working in conjunction toward a plan of action.”
Then, several hours later, Morehouse College President Dr. David A. Thomas released a statement saying an investigation has been launched and that Crews was placed on an unpaid administrative leave.
On LinkedIn, Crews has an impressive resume that includes work as a research scientist at Harvard and Purdue universities, more than four years with Morehouse in various mid- and-high level administrative roles including as an assistant dean. He graduated with a degree in chemistry from the Historically Black College in 2015, and in 2017, earned a master’s of education degree from Mercer College. According to his social media, he is an ardent Christian.
Crews shuttered his social media while this story was being written but Heavy was able to get screenshots.
This case is not dissimilar to a federal case against the college that charges a sociology professor of sexual misconduct with at least one student and possibly more during a study-abroad program. The allegations include sexually explicit conduct and unwanted sexual touching. The student who filed a federal lawsuit against Morehouse, the professor, Robert B. Peterson, Ph.D., as well as the then Title IX director, was traumatized, hospitalized and then rebuked, the suit alleges, by the college. The lawsuit alleges Morehouse created a sexually hostile environment for some students.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. In 2 Candid Videos, Key Said Crews Sexually Assaulted Him in 2018 & Nothing Was Ever Done Despite His Repeated Reports to Administrators
A few hours before his post, he wrote, “IDK what to do anymore …I have a story to tell and I really need AUC to support me through this.”
Saying he decided it was time, the student spoke into the camera.
“So I’m finally ready to tell what happened,” he beings. He says that beginning in the second semester of his freshman year in 2018, “I was assaulted by a staff member at Morehouse College by the name of the DeMarcus Crews.” He says the assault sent him into a “bad depression.” He says Crews was “trying to force me to come out about my sexuality, making advances at me, telling me I need dick. Comments like that,” adding Crews allegedly said: “Didn’t I tell your bitch ass to text me if you need anything?” Declining to go into the specifics of the assault, he alleges in the beginning, Crews touched him in unwanted ways.
“In my freshman year, he used to do sh*t to me, hugging on me, pinching my cheeks … just predatory sh*t like that.” The young man had never told his parents, he said, and only a few friends, adding it’s always bothered him and in fact, he said he’d broken down shortly before posting the video: “I just started breaking down crying today.”
He says that he went to Morehouse College’s title IX officer the day after the assault. “I told title IX. I reported it the day after. I reported it,” but an administrator in that office, who he says has since left the college was “condescending the whole time, acting like she didn’t care,” he says adding that she “canceled several meetings with me. I never heard anything back from her, come to find out she was fired. That whole semester, first semester of my sophomore year, I didn’t hear anything back. The following semester I was just noticing that I was smoking more, doing things I don’t do and I was fed up about it.”
He called his parents.
2. After Contacting His Parents & Telling Them That Crews Sexually Assaulted Him, They Got in Their Car & Drove From Chicago to Atlanta
He called his parents in Chicago and told them what happened to him. They drove to Atlanta. There, he and his parents met with an administrator, Quisha Buggs, the Morehouse student success specialist. In that meeting, he says, Buggs assured the family “that everything would be handled.”
He said his “parents started breaking down crying,” and, worse yet, he says, “DeMarcus was in there while we were having this conversation.”
He says in the second video that he and his family contacted an attorney. He spoke to the next Title IX director, “Who said she would talk to the Provost about giving me academic accommodations for those past two semesters for how they blew everything off.” But this administrator too was soon gone, he says. He says Morehouse completely ignored him.
“Morehouse continued to not respond to anything,” including repeated calls and repeated emails “with receipts.”
“I haven’t heard anything. This sh*t is really stressing me the f*ck out because I know there’s other students out there who have experienced some kind of sh*t from DeMarcus Crews, so I just really need y’all to be my side and get Morehouse to hear me because I’m tired of this sh*t.”
The reaction on Twitter was largely supportive.
And angry at the college’s alleged refusal to address the sexual assault and sexual harassment he describes.
3. Morehouse Student Bryson Karter Saw the Tweeted Video & Shared His Own Story of Alleged Sexual Harassment by Crews
Bryson Karter says he’s a Morehouse freshman who was also “sexually harassed” by Crews. He met Crews as the assistant dean during a summer program for incoming freshman in 2018. Karter says that Crews was very solicitous and helpful and kind to him. But things began to take a turn, he says, when Crews began to “treat me differently than the other students … he would buy me food …ask me if I was good, if I needed anything.” He said he appreciated it but as the new school year began Crews’ attentions “started to make me more uncomfortable.” Crews allegedly made graphic sexual references and comments to Karter who tried to take it as a joke, he says, “but it went to a point where it was taking too far.”
In February, Karter got a call from a friend who said Crews had phoned him. The friend said Crews announced that Karter “came out to him,” and was “having sexual relations with a different student on campus…”
“He was making all these allegations, telling the student these things that I never said to him. I can take students talking about me, but when administration is saying these things and making up these rumors about students that’s when it’s been taken too far.”
He said the type of rumors and sexual references Crews was making “will cause people to drive themselves to suicide, so ultimately I really just ended up dealing with it dealing with a lot of depression and anxiety. From February to March, that entire month I struggled. I didn’t feel comfortable at Morehouse. I didn’t feel comfortable going to class. I didn’t feel comfortable going to club events or club meetings. I didn’t want to go. I isolated myself from everybody. I had never dealt with this, it was all brand new to me,” he says.
Karter said he’s speaking out because he “seeing another student talk about a very similar situation happening …I just don’t want any current or incoming students at Morehouse to have to deal with what I had to deal with during my freshman year. And if sharing this story is what it takes in order for DeMarcus Crews to get the punishment he deserves, then I’m willing to do that. So if anybody else has a similar story, or can relate, please share.”
And others shared.
“During my freshman year at Morehouse DeMarcus Crews used to send me strange sexual messages on Facebook. He was my RA I reported him to my RD nothing ever happened. Had to work with him as an RA the following year ?”
“To @brysonkarter & @GrindAlways__, as a survivor of sexual assault, I believe and stand with you both. @Morehouse did not take my assault seriously until I went public. No one should have to navigate such pain to be heard. To do the labor of truth telling is undeniable integrity.”
On the same tweet thread, another person came forward with his own story of being sexually assaulted by a Morehouse staff member on “several occasions” but did not name Crews.
“I’m here for you, bro. You’re not the only one,” Twitter user Reality, wrote adding an image of a Notes with what appears to be their experience with Crews.
He says he was sexually assaulted “on multiple occasions by a staff member at Morehouse College.” He goes on to describe the aftermath which led to depression, failing grades, and attempted suicide; his world upside down with his dream crushed. And he says he too went in search of Title IX assistance and was rebuked then ignored. The college staffer he says sexually assaulted him “wasn’t supposed to be allowed on campus but still showed up to multiple events on campus,” furthering his trauma. “We need justice! I’ve been battling with staying to become this Morehouse man or keeping my sanity.”
4. A Student Sued Morehouse After He Alleged a Professor Repeatedly Sexually Harassed Him & the School Refused to Take Action. The Case is in Federal Court
In the case first brought in Georgia state court, the claim was under Title IX “arising out of sexual harassment and assault,” the details are graphic.
The young Morehouse student had just set out with other students, under the tutelage and guardianship of Dr. Robert B. Peterson, a sociology professor at the College, for Brazil as part of the Morehouse Pan-African Global Experience study abroad program led by Paterson. The suit claims that on the flight from Miami, Peterson purchased alcohol for the student, who was underage, and then proceeded to fondle him on the flight. And the complaint alleges that the sexual misconduct continued while in Brazil and that others witnessed the sexual harassment.
When they returned to Morehouse, the misconduct was reported but never acted on in earnest, the suit alleges. And, after agreeing to make special accommodations for the student, who the lawsuit says suffered as a result of the trauma and was hospitalized, the college instead appeared to retaliate against the student and, the suit claims, to his day has not released his transcripts, saying he owes the school money.
Peterson was said to have been placed on leave in 2016/2017, but his name appears on the 2018 course catalog for the College.
Also worthy of note is that one of the defendants named in the lawsuit is the woman who was the Title IX coordinator, Terraine Bailey, the same woman the student on Twitter said he first spoke to but who then inexplicably was no longer with the college. Bailey filed a motion in federal court to be removed from the suit as a defendant claiming that she was not at fault in the handling, or mishandling, of the Brazil case, but her employer Morehouse College was. It appears that at the time she made that motion coincides generally with the time frame the student who’s accused Crews of sexual assault, says she disappeared.
The lawsuit names the now former college president John Silvanus Wilson as a defendant. Wilson left the College in 2017 as the original lawsuit was first brought in state court before being moved to a federal court in Atlanta.
5. Crews, Who Was Reported to Have Resigned & Who Did Not Return Heavy Calls & Messages For Comment, Has an Impressive Resume on LinkedIn
On his LinkedIn account, Crews shares a notable curriculum vitae that includes work as a summer research scientist at Harvard and Purdue universities, and in the span of less than four years employed by Morehouse, has held four mid- to -high level administrative roles including as an assistant dean. Crews graduated from Morehouse with a degree in chemistry in 2015, and in 2017, earned a master’s of education degree from Mercer College.
According to his social media, he’s from Albany, Georgia and is an ardent Christian.
Some say Crews has been previously accused and his alleged sexual misconduct has never been addressed or dealt with, it’s alleged.
“The person mentioned in this video has been accused by multiple students. I’ve heard many of their stories and @Morehouse Title IX has done absolutely nothing to protect their students, only the institution. There is no accountability or transparency.”
Morehouse College president Thomas released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying an investigation has been launched.