A York intern continued to work on campus after pleading guilty to rape
He was jailed for rape last September after pleading guilty
A University of York physics intern continued to work on campus after pleading guilty to rape.
Joseph McKeown, who was set to start a Phd in Physics, was jailed for sexual assault back in September 2019 after pleading guilty to rape that took place in 2017.
The BBC have reported that McKeown continued to work at the University of York after he’d already pleaded guilty to the rape allegation on the 24th July 2019.
Prior to starting his PhD, McKeown was undertaking an internship within the York physics department, which was not due to finish until the 23rd August 2019 – almost a month after he’d pleaded guilty.
York Vision have reported that Professor Thomas Krauss, from the York physics department was aware of the allegations and investigation McKeown was facing, and had still allowed him to continue with his internship.
Professor Thomas Krauss and another physics lecturer, Dr Laurence Wilson, are also said to have written a “letter of recommendation” for McKeown to the court, in defence of his character which described him as a “first rate scientist” who “will change lives”.
Professor Krauss and Dr Laurence Wilson “say they didn’t know about the guilty plea” according to the BBC report, but they still had “provided those references in full knowledge of the allegations” according to court transcripts.
A whistle-blower told the BBC McKeown had been seen “around the department several times during August”, and that others working in the physics department at the time “no idea that there was a rape investigation going on or that there had been any kind of guilty plea.” They also stated that McKeown had worked “frequently” with a “younger female student.”
Both members of staff still currently work at the University of York, but declined interviews with the BBC.
A University spokesperson said: “We deeply regret that Joseph McKeown continued his short internship following his guilty plea. We apologise unreservedly for the distress caused and our thoughts remain with the victim of his crime.
“As soon as we were made aware of the circumstances, which was after the internship ended, disciplinary action was taken and the University liaised closely with the department involved, contacting staff and students and offering one-to-one advice and support.
“We remain committed to applying the lessons learnt from this case, including the ongoing review of our policies and procedures.
“We would like to reassure our staff and students that their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance, and we continue to work hard to create a culture where all our staff and students feel safe and able to report unacceptable behaviour, confident that the University takes this issue very seriously.”
The York Tab reported on the original story a year ago here.
The York Tab has contacted Professor Thomas Krauss and Dr Laurence Wilson for comment.