MISSOURI — Campus police have identified seven suspects in last Tuesday’s theft of 1,650 copies of The Maneater, the student newspaper at the University of Missouri.
The chapter president of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity said the suspects were members of the fraternity, a story in The Maneater reported.
Editor in Chief Jenna Youngs, said she believes the newspapers were stolen because Tuesday’s edition included an article about a former president of the fraternity who is being sued by a current Phi Kappa Psi member for sexually assaulting him in 2003.
Staff members noticed that The Maneater was missing from several campus locations Tuesday afternoon and filed a police report that day, Youngs said.
She said on Wednesday that the cost of the theft was $240 for printing the stolen papers, not taking into account the lost advertising revenue. The total press run for the newspaper is 9,000.
"Just the entire thought of somebody trying to stifle our paper disgusts me," Youngs said in an article from KMBC-TV, a Kansas City television station.
Nick Boyan, current president of the Phi Kappa Psi chapter, denounced the theft in The Maneater article, saying "this was the action of individuals and not the chapter."
Derek Kravitz, managing editor of the newspaper, said one of the suspects offered to reimburse the paper and publish an ad in the newspaper in exchange for the staff not pressing charges, according to the article in The Maneater.
Youngs said the decision about whether or not to press charges would be left up to the prosecutor.
"We’re not the only victims here, our readers didn’t have access to our paper,” she said. “Derek and I felt that it wasn’t right to decide for everybody whether to press charges or not."
Youngs said campus investigators told the newspaper staff that charges are likely. She went on to say that in addition to possible legal charges the suspects will face punishment by the fraternity and by the university.
Captain Scott Richardson from the University of Missouri police said that the theft is still under investigation and now that suspects have been identified, campus investigators will work with local prosecutors to determine if or how the suspects will be charged.
"I’m very relieved and grateful that the university and the police took the case as seriously as they did," Youngs said.
–by Kim Peterson SPLC staff writer