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Investigation of VCU Police Chief Expands

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The office of the Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney is reviewing the computer files of Virginia Commonwealth University Police Chief Willie Fuller, and Style Weekly has learned that VCU investigated complaints against Fuller in 2005.

In the wake of the chief's arrest on charges of soliciting sex with a 14-year-old girl, VCU has quarantined the chief's computer files “and other electronic documents,” Pamela D. Lepley, director of communications at VCU, writes in an e-mail. The commonwealth's attorney is reviewing them, she confirms.

Undercover detectives with the Chesterfield County Police Department arrested Fuller Jan. 28 during an Internet sting operation in which the detectives pose as minors and attempt to catch predators seeking sex with children. Fuller was arrested at his home in Henrico County, where police confiscated three computers and related equipment.

John M. Bennett, senior vice president for finance and administration at VCU, told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in late January that the university wasn't planning its own investigation. Bennett also said he was unaware of any complaints against Fuller, who has been VCU's police chief since 2000.

Sources tell Style that VCU conducted an internal review into complaints from within the police department four years ago, and at one point found an electronic correspondence, possibly an e-mail on his computer, with a girl who claimed to be 17. Further details about the exchange, which the sources say were sexually explicit in nature, were unclear at press time. It's also unclear what actions the university took after its internal review.

VCU's Lepley declines to comment. “Personnel matters are confidential,” she says.

While Lepley says the Chesterfield Commonwealth's Attorney is reviewing Fuller's computer and electronic files, Chesterfield Police Major Dan Kelley says his department's investigation into Fuller was limited to the sting operation and the computers and other equipment found at Fuller's home. “I would have to defer to the college,” Kelly says of VCU. “It's out of our jurisdiction.”

Chesterfield prosecutor David Rigler, who is handling the Fuller case, couldn't be reached by press time.

Fuller's attorney, Arnold R. Henderson, declines to comment on the review of Fuller's VCU computer and electronic files and the 2005 complaints.

"We are focused on the charges that are currently pending and the upcoming preliminary hearing,” Henderson says. “I've heard so many different rumors. ... There is a lot that is circulating that is false.”

Fuller is scheduled to appear April 2 for a preliminary hearing in the Chesterfield County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.

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