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2000 Award for Merit

2000 Award for Merit

Sergeant E. Steven Milne of the Utah State University Police Department

Sergeant E. Steven MilneThe Award for Merit is presented to an IACLEA member or employee of a member campus public safety, police, or security department who daily displays professionalism and excellence in performing his/her duties or whose actions and attitude bring credit to the campus law enforcement community. The 2000 IACLEA Award for Merit was presented to Sergeant E. Steven Milne of the Utah State University Police Department.

Sergeant E. Steven Milne of the Utah State University Police Department. Department receives the 2000 Award for Merit. Left to right: Felix Mira, Vice President of VingCard PERSONA; Allison Milne; Sgt. E. Steven Milne; and Dr. Nathan Johnson, Chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee.

In nominating Sgt. Milne, Utah State University Police Chief Steven J. Mecham wrote, "Sgt. Milne has been commended for his excellence and exemplary work. He is deserving of the Award of Merit presented by the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators."

"Over a period of three years Sgt. Milne has spent hundreds of hours working on this case, often at a personal sacrifice for himself and his family. Sgt. Milne has worked diligently with the County Attorney's Office to see that even the smallest holes in each case were filled. We were successful in the second and third cases because of his attention to detail. Sgt. Milne was able to keep hundreds of significant facts straight and in such order that he was able to answer difficult questions at a moment's notice."

"Sgt. Milne's work on these acquaintance assault cases is unprecedented in our jurisdiction, the state and most likely beyond. The work that he has done on these cases and the knowledge he has gained will serve to make such cases easier to prosecute in the future. In a time of escalating acquaintance rapes with very few being prosecuted, his work and expertise is significant."

In the fall of 1996 a 21-year-old male and his wife and two children moved into married housing on the Utah State University campus. Our first involvement with the individual was a domestic violence case in October of that year. Shortly after, he separated from his wife and moved into a single student facility. Beginning on November 17, 1996 and over the next 11 weeks this individual committed two sexual assaults and five rapes of USU students. Five of the seven assaults occurred before we received any reports concerning this individual. The other two occurred shortly after the first reports were made.

Each of these cases involved young women who had recently met the perpetrator. None of the victims immediately reported their assaults. It was not until a mutual friend of two of the victims heard both stories and got them together that they were able to muster the courage to report the assaults. Sgt. Steve Milne was assigned to the case.

For nearly three years Sgt. Milne has worked on these cases, all acquaintance-type incidents that are arguably the most difficult cases to prosecute. Sgt. Milne immediately gained rapport and a trusting relationship with the victims who were understandably very hesitant to follow through with the sometimes seemingly insurmountable acquaintance assault cases. Because of that special relationship, the victims did go forward with their cases.

The first rape case went to trial in February 1998 after countless successful maneuvers by the defense to postpone the date. Because of poor case law in Utah, none of the other victims were able to testify in the first case even though the modus operandi was nearly identical in each of the rape cases. The jury acquitted the perpetrator. However, in discussing the case with jury members we learned that they felt 85% sure that the perpetrator was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt in the eyes of many. Shortly after this case the Utah Supreme Court issued a ruling that overturned their own decision that prohibited the testimony of other victims.

After the first trial ended in an acquittal, no one was sure how the other victims would react. But because of the confidence they had in Sgt. Milne, they were anxious to pursue the charges. The second rape case went to trial in April 1998. This time two other victims were able to testify because the circumstances in their cases met the "signature" requirement issued by the judge under the new ruling of the Utah Supreme Court. The trial ended in a verdict of guilty and the perpetrator was sentenced to five years to life. This case is currently under appeal.

The third trial involved the first of the victims and was for sexual assault. Again, this was an acquaintance assault with only the victim and the perpetrator in the room. Through the work of Sgt. Milne and the prosecutor's office the case was very well prepared and ended in a conviction on January 12, 2000. The perpetrator was scheduled to be sentenced in February 2000 with a likely sentence of 15 years to life because the assault involved bodily injury.

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