According to court records, University officials waited six months before reporting a University of Michigan Health System resident who possessed child pornography to police.

Stephen Jenson, a medical resident in the UMHS medicine-pediatrics specialty program, was arrested in December on charges of possessing child pornography. However, according to AnnArbor.com, the arrest came six months after he was originally accused of possessing the explicit material.

According to an article on AnnArbor.com, a female UMHS resident found a flash drive left in a computer in a locked lounge in the Pediatric Emergency Department on May 23, 2011. On the flash drive was a sexually explicit image of an adult and a child, along with a medical document with Jenson’s name.

After seeing the image, the resident went home and left the flash drive where she found it. The next morning, she reported her findings to her superiors, but the flash drive was no longer in the computer, according to the article.

After his arrest, Jenson told police that he had viewed child pornography, “more than three times but less than ten,” according to the article.

University Spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the University found no evidence that Jenson was involved in inappropriate activity with patients.

“We have investigated it thoroughly, and there has never been any indication that these photos involve patients, or that there has been any patient misconduct,” Fitzgerald said in an interview.

After learning that UMHS officials waited to report the incident to police, University President Mary Sue Coleman launched an internal investigation to examine the reasons for the delay in reporting the issue, Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald added that the preliminary findings of the inquiry showed that the incident was reported to the University in May, but was dismissed by the UMHS Office of the General Counsel due to lack of evidence.

Fitzgerald said the case was then reopened and fully investigated in November.

“Once these allegations were reported properly in November to the Department of Public Safety, they were immediately investigated, and the prosecutor authorized criminal charges against the resident who was involved,” Fitzgerald said.

The internal report, obtained by The Michigan Daily, revealed that the investigation was stalled due to a number of issues involving the line of responsibility and communication between authorities.

“DPS and hospital security have strong policies and procedures for their individual departments, but weak communication protocols between the two departments,” the report stated.

In a blog post yesterday, Ora Pescovitz, the University’s executive vice president for medical affairs, called the incident “a painful moment in our history,” and she wrote that an investigation is being conducted to determine faults in the University’s reporting systems to ensure a similar incident doesn’t occur again.

“The creation, use and distribution of child pornography is appalling on every level, and in situations like this when there are mistakes in how such a situation was handled, human nature makes us want to quickly identify and resolve the problem,” Pescovitz wrote. “However, jumping to quick conclusions and making assumptions with partial information isn’t the answer. That’s why the University is engaged in a comprehensive review into what went wrong in this particular case.”

Pescovitz wrote that the review was a priority for her and the University and it would allow UMHS to reform its protocols. Pescovitz specifically noted that UMHS remains dedicated to protecting its “most vulnerable” patients. She encouraged UMHS employees to promptly report “inappropriate” incidents.

“It is our collective responsibility to be diligent in reporting behaviors and actions that are inappropriate, and that we applaud and support those who have the courage to do so,” Pescovitz wrote. “It isn’t always easy to speak up, but it is always the right thing to do. And it is my and all leadership’s responsibility to thoroughly and timely investigate reported concerns.”

Jensen’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 16, and he is being charged with four counts of possessing child sexually abusive material.

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