Computer Crime Research Center


Former Clemson official indicted on larceny, computer crime charges

Date: October 22, 2010
By: Anna Mitchell

GREENVILLE — A former Clemson official, fired three years ago amid disputes about the university's financial management, has been indicted in Greenville County on grand larceny and computer crime charges.

The indictment against Chalmers Eugene Troutman, former secretary to the Clemson University Board of Trustees, was made public late Tuesday by the office of 13th Circuit Solicitor Bob Ariail.

“These charges are the result of an extensive SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) investigation,” Ariail said in a prepared statement. “The results of the investigation required a direct presentment to the grand jury, which was done today.”

Ariail had requested a SLED investigation last year after he received a letter from Troutman's attorney, Joel Collins. Collins outlined in that letter - posted to the solicitor, a magistrate and the sheriff - why his client should not be arrested on the basis of any accusations from Clemson University.

Clemson officials at the time said they had not requested the investigation.

The larceny charge stems from Troutman's removal of a computer, 14 boxes of copied documents and computer disks that the solicitor said were the property of Clemson University.

Troutman has stated in court documents he removed the computer and university documents, which were courtesy copies, under the supervision of university counsel. Clemson's attorneys fought for months for the return of the documents, which they argued contained attorney-client privileged materials. They received them back in early 2009.

Troutman was hired as executive secretary to the trustees in 2005. A university biography says he spent more than 30 years in engineering and construction administration and held various positions with Fluor Corp. since his graduation with a degree in literature from Clemson in 1974.

In January 2008, he filed a lawsuit against every Clemson trustee except David Wilkins (who wasn't on the board at that time), Clemson President Jim Barker, Clemson Vice President Dori Helms and attorney Clay Steadman - “all in their individual capacities and in their official capacities.”

That lawsuit has not yet been resolved, and a hearing is set for Nov. 19. In the lawsuit, Troutman outlines the circumstances leading up to his termination from Clemson on Aug. 17, 2007. He said the defendants in the suit collaborated “in bad faith to get rid of Troutman in retaliation for his outspoken criticism on matters of public concern.”

He said his ideas for achieving more fiscal accountability and policy compliance at the university were at the root of the matter.

His termination, he alleges, was a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. Among the facts he'd wanted to expose, he said, was the university's buildup of unrestricted cash over several years, totaling $80 million, as it raised tuition annually. His lawsuit seeks compensation for damages to his reputation, his income and attorneys fees, among other things.

If Troutman is convicted on the criminal charges he now faces, he could be sentenced to a total of 15 years in prison.

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