What we know about Kroll, firm hired to help investigate Title IX complaints
On Feb. 13, MSU announced it hired Kroll, a global investigative agency, to assist MSU's Office of Institutional Equity, or OIE, with a backlog of sexual assault cases.
The State News sat down with Nicole Lamb-Hale, a managing director in Kroll’s Investigations and Disputes practice, to learn more about the firm and its role at MSU.
Kroll is a global consultancy firm that provides investigative and risk mitigation services, Lamb-Hale said. Kroll has operated for more than 45 years.
“Academic institutions and other organizations hire us to conduct sensitive internal investigations related to sexual assault and other areas of misconduct,” Lamb-Hale said. “We are independent third-party investigators and we make recommendations with objectivity and independence.”
Kroll has a Title IX and sexual misconduct investigations practice, she said. According to its website, the firm also provides cyber security services.
Role and purpose
OIE experienced a 35 percent increase in sexual assault reports from 2015-16 to 2016-17, according to a press release sent out after Kroll was hired.
“There’s been an uptick in filings largely because we think people are more aware of what their rights are,” Lamb-Hale said.
Because of this increased volume of reports, the average time needed to complete a sexual assault investigation is 80 days, according to the press release. Interim President John Engler called this “totally unacceptable” in the release.
Lamb-Hale said 60 days with the ability to extend would be best practice. She said she hopes Kroll can help MSU get there, but at this time, cannot say how long it will take. Kroll hopes to become a “force multiplier” for the OIE to fulfill Engler’s stated goal of making MSU a model for handling sexual assault.
Lamb-Hale confirmed later via text message she initially reached out to Engler to offer Kroll’s services.
“We’re hopeful that we can help to further Interim President Engler’s vision to really reduce the timeframe,” Lamb-Hale said. “I think with us coming in, that can be done.”
Lamb-Hale anticipates an initial team of six that can expand or contract as needed, she said. Kroll has four managing directors on the ground currently.
Lamb-Hale joined Kroll’s Washington office in 2016, she said.
A Detroit native, Lamb-Hale attended U-M for her undergraduate degree and went on to Harvard Law School. She practiced law in Detroit for 18 years before serving as assistant secretary of commerce for manufacturing and services with the Barack Obama administration.
Lamb Hale said Kenya Mann Faulkner will be leading the investigative team at MSU.
Mann Faulkner is also a managing director in Investigations and Disputes, based in Kroll’s Philadelphia office.
She has experience as former general counsel and ethics officer at University of Cincinnati, making her familiar with university environments and complying with investigations, Lamb-Hale said.
Mann Faulkner is also a former public defender and federal prosecutor.
Mark Ehlers, the head of Kroll’s Philadelphia office, served for 18 years as assistant U.S. attorney in Washington and Philadelphia, Lamb-Hale said. He prosecuted and investigated many cases, including sex crimes, she said.
Dan Schorr is a managing director in Investigations and Disputes based in Kroll’s New York office. He formerly served as the inspector general for the city of Yonkers, New York.
He is also a former assistant district attorney who specialized in the investigation of sex crimes and domestic violence, Lamb-Hale said.
Schorr is also an adjunct professor at Fordham School of Law.
Kroll is mentioned in a New Yorker report as having worked for Harvey Weinstein as recently as October 2016 in relation to the Hollywood producer’s reported efforts to discredit allegations against him. Decades of sexual misconduct claims have been made against Weinstein. The scandal surrounding the allegations helped to spark and popularize the #MeToo movement.
Lamb-Hale said the firm is not currently employed by Weinstein or his company.
California-based attorney John Manly, who represents more than 100 survivors of Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse, strongly objected to the optics of Kroll’s hiring.
“To hire Harvey Weinstein’s stooges to investigate Title IX, you either have to be the stupidest person in the world, or you’re trying to send a message to the survivors. I don’t think President Engler is stupid,” Manly said.
Engler is aware of the New Yorker report, but believes the Kroll employees working for MSU had nothing to do with anything involving Weinstein, he said at a press conference, according to MLive.
John Truscott, spokesperson for Engler, said there is no connection between the members of Kroll working for MSU and the ones who worked for Weinstein.
“This is like saying (if) a McDonald's in LA serves a bad burger, the one in East Lansing must be bad,” Truscott said.