• Comment

Former UCA chief of staff gave key to student who stole exams

Felony charges filed against Jack Gillean on Friday

Posted: October 5, 2012 - 9:24pm

A former longtime chief of staff at the University of Central Arkansas gave his university keys to a student who stole test exams, Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland said Friday.

That same administrator filed an untrue insurance claim and lied on a credit application before he resigned suddenly from his post June 15, according to documents filed at the Faulkner County Courthouse on Friday morning.

Jack Gillean, who had been with UCA since 1996, is charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor — three felony counts of commercial burglary, one felony count of insurance fraud and one misdemeanor count of issuing a false financial statement.

Gillean joins two other UCA officials who have been charged with wrongdoing.

Former President Allen Meadors is expected to be arraigned on a misdemeanor charge of tampering with a public document Nov. 19. The president before Meadors, Lu Hardin, was convicted of wire fraud and money laundering in 2011.

UCA spokesman Jeff Pitchford said President Tom Courtway had no comment on the latest charges against Gillean.

If found guilty, Gillean could face 36 years maximum for all felony counts. An arrest warrant has been issued, but Gillean had not been arrested as of about 6:30 p.m. Friday, Hiland said.

Gillean could not be reached for comment Friday. He did not respond to a message left on his Facebook account, and his cell phone number has been disconnected. His last known address is in Hot Springs, according to Hiland.

No one was at a Conway apartment that Gillean had rented as of last year Friday afternoon.

The charges against Gillean stem from police catching a man who used master keys to break into McCastlain Hall earlier this year.

On June 11, a UCA employee reported a break-in and theft of medication in McCastlain Hall. After investigating, UCA police discovered video that allowed the employee to identify Cameron Stark, a former student worker in the President’s Office, according to the affidavit. When police arrested Stark at his Conway home, he told them the keys used to break into the office and building were in his front pocket, the affidavit said.

Those keys belonged to Gillean, according to the affidavit.

“Cameron Stark stated that former UCA Chief of Staff Jack Gillean had given him a set of keys in order for Cameron Stark to break into professors’ offices at the university to steal exams so he could cheat on tests. Cameron Stark stated he had done this approximately 15-20 times,” according to the affidavit.

Gillean reported his master key lost in November or December 2011, spokeswoman Venita Jenkins said in email previously.

Stark did not respond to a message left on his Facebook account. His attorney, Angela Byrd, did not return a message seeking comment Friday. Hiland confirmed Stark was given immunity.

Pitchford said Stark is not enrolled at UCA, but the spokesman cited privacy concerns and would not say whether Stark had finished his degree at UCA.

In the affidavit, several unnamed witnesses confirmed Stark’s story about Gillean handing over keys and his identification card — those keys and card granted Stark access to almost any building and office on campus. Stark said in the affidavit that he used those keys to steal information from Laney Hall, Irby Hall and the Lewis Science Center between Feb. 13, 2011 and April 23, 2011.

Gillean was present for at least one break in, according to documents.

“Jack Gillean was present with Cameron Stark and personally used his Best Master Key to break into the Lewis Science Center Building and Dr. Vorha’s office allowing Cameron Stark access to steal exams,” according to the affidavit.

One witness said in the affidavit Stark asked repeatedly for keys to steal tests and that he had seen Gillean handing over those keys so often that it became “the norm.”

When contacted by the Log Cabin Democrat previously, one witness said he did not want to comment on the case.

The witness who saw Gillean handing over keys repeatedly, also said Gillean joked with Stark about “studying more often,” according to the affidavit.

Police found evidence that the Lewis center was broken into “using Jack Gillean’s Best Master Key.”

That key allows access to almost any building or office on campus and is not supposed to be given to anyone besides the person to whom it was issued. Another key, the Schlage Key, allows access to some of the older offices on campus and is also not supposed to be given to anyone other than the person to whom it was issued, according to the affidavit.

The UCA Identification Card that belonged to Gillean can be used to gain access to Wingo Hall, ADEM Facility and Laney Hall. That card was used five times to access Laney Hall during the spring semester, according to the affidavit.

Gillean signed paperwork agreeing not to give anyone his master key but failed to sign a similar agreement for the Schlage Key.

Once in the building, a Schlage Key — a key issued to Jack Gillean on March 7, 2011, and found on Stark during arrest — was used to break into an office “where the exams were located and then stolen,” according to the affidavit.

Gillean gave his Best Master Key to Stark and asked the UCA Physical plant for a Schlage Key that he then gave to Stark, knowing those keys were “for the purpose of breaking into buildings and stealing exams,” according to the affidavit.

Other witnesses said in the affidavit that Stark gave them exams prior to the exam date. Another said he was with Stark during one break-in. Yet another witness confronted Gillean about the break-ins, asking Gillean “about giving Cameron Stark the master key to school and what he was doing with it. Jack Gillean responded, ‘I know. I know,’” according to the affidavit.

No charges are pending against witnesses, Hiland said.

Gillean fired Stark from his student worker position in late April 2011 and ended their “personal relationship” after Stark was involved in an accident on Irby Drive while driving Gillean’s motorcycle, according to courthouse documents. Student worker personnel files are not open to the public, Pitchford said.

Later, Gillean filed an insurance claim that stated he “had been riding his motorcycle — not Cameron Stark,” according to the affidavit. A witness had seen Stark’s accident and thought the motorcycle “looked like the motorcycle Jack Gillean drove to work and parked at the university.” Gillean received $4,631 to replace the 2009 Kawasaki EX650 motorcycle.

Police also found that Gillean had falsified a credit application to help a man with whom he had a “domestic partnership” buy a 2011 Ford Mustang, according to the affidavit. Gillean lied to the local automotive dealer and said the man, with whom he lived, was “assistant chief of staff for the University of Central Arkansas with a salary of $2,500 monthly in order to secure the credit for the automobile,” according to the affidavit. Gillean and the man both signed the application, but the man has since become a witness.

The affidavit addresses break-ins between March 8 and April 23, 2011, but in January 2012 faculty in McAlister and McCastlain halls reported paperwork rifled through and thefts when their offices had been locked several times. In some cases, medication was stolen, according to police incident reports. Even though missing drugs originally lead to Stark in June, no drug charges have been filed against Stark or Gillean.

Hiland said the case against Gillean is ongoing and more charges could be filed.

  • Comment