Beeman Gets Five Years Probation in Embezzlement Case

Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Yolo County Superior Court Judge Janet Gaard sentenced former UC Davis employee Jennifer Beeman to five years felony probation and 180 days County jail for embezzlement and falsifying of government records from the UC Davis Campus Violence Prevention Program.

Judge Gaard also ordered Beeman to pay $9,153.50 in restitution.

According to the District Attorney’s press release, Ms. Beeman oversaw the Campus Violence Prevention Program at UC Davis from 1992 until 2007, and was charged with taking in excess of $10,000 in university funds and falsifying the university’s records to cover up some of the thefts.

Ms. Beeman entered felony pleas to one count of Embezzlement of Government Funds and one count of Falsifying Government Accounts, and had already re-paid $1372.00 of the embezzled funds.

In April, Ms. Beeman pled no contest.  According to the District Attorney’s office, her light sentence was due to the fact that she had no prior convictions.

Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Michael Cabral told the Sacramento Bee in April, “We believe it’s a fair and appropriate disposition based on the amount of loss.”

Ms. Beeman was director of the Campus Violence Prevention Program for 16 years until December 2008, when she was placed on administrative leave. Beeman left university employment in June 2009.

In September 2009, UC Davis announced that Ms. Beeman had exaggerated the numbers of forcible sex offenses reported under the Clery Act in 2005, 2006 and 2007. UC Davis corrected those figures in 2009 and has taken steps to improve oversight of the collection of Clery Act statistics.

UC Davis’ Campus Violence Prevention Program provides victims of sexual assault, stalking and domestic violence the opportunity to divulge the crimes in confidence and connects them to health care and other support services, regardless of whether they choose to file a police report.

Raising further complications in this particular case are the close ties between the DA’s office and Ms. Beeman.  It is not clear that the DA’s office should have recused itself, but it is at least a matter for consideration.

The connections between Ms. Beeman and the Yolo County DA’s office are not direct.  Instead, they rest between Ms. Beeman and other organizations and agencies, all of which work very closely with the DA’s office.

One of the interesting connections was between Ms. Beeman and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

CALCASA was one of the organizations hit for misuse of federal grant money last fall.

Inspector General Laura Chick, in a letter to Governor Schwarzenegger wrote, “One grant CalEMA [California Emergency Management Agency] has awarded [to CALCASA] provides critical training for rape crisis centers statewide to increase comprehensive services to all victims of sexual assault, especially unserved and underserved populations. Unfortunately, the sole recipient contracted to conduct this work, having spent a good deal of the $300,000 it was awarded, has woefully failed to achieve the promised results. Of the monies expended so far, nearly half were not used properly.”

“Significant objectives of the grant, including conducting training programs and creating and distributing valuable information, have not been achieved,” she continues.

Perhaps most serious is the improper expenditures of $48,532.  Wrote the Inspector General, “Despite the insignificant activities taken by CALCASA to meet the objectives of the grant, expenditures of $110,713 were claimed and reimbursed by CalEMA, through August 31, 2010.”

A full 44 percent of the costs claimed were improper.

Ms. Beeman worked with CALCASA in 2007 to secure a nearly $1 million federal grant – a grant which is now in question.

According to an October 2, 2007, release from the UC Davis News Service, “The three-year project, supported by a $999,369 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, aims to coordinate a model program to reduce the incidence of campus-based violence against women, including domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The program will also focus on improving the quality of response when such incidents do occur.”

The grant was supposed to benefit all ten UC Campuses.

“With this grant, the University of California is taking a major step forward to reduce violence against women and improve assistance for those who are affected by it,” said UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef at the time. “Together, we can enhance services throughout the UC system and beyond.”

That December, Chancellor Vanderhoef brought the new federal grant opportunity to the attention of his UC Chancellor colleagues, who strongly endorsed this collected effort to reduce the number of sexual assaults throughout the university system. Judy Sakaki, UCD’s Vice President for Student Affairs, encouraged discussions among her colleagues, and they expedited the gathering of information for the grant application, made through the Campus Violence Prevention Program at UC Davis.

“Again, the University of California is attempting to solve a serious societal problem,” Sakaki said. “The united efforts of our 10 campuses can make a dramatic difference.”

“We are looking forward to building upon and sharing the expertise we have gained through our long and productive collaboration with the federal Office on Violence Against Women,” said Jennifer Beeman, director of the violence prevention program at UC Davis since 1992 and the administrator of the new systemwide project. “We want to work with other campuses to create a model intervention within the State of California.”

On October 29, 2009, the Sacramento Bee reported, “As part of the federal grants that supported the violence prevention program, Beeman had been required to update the crime situation at UC Davis in twice-yearly reports.

“Her count of sexual assaults was lower than what the campus originally reported to the federal campus crime statistics clearinghouse, known as the Clery Act, but higher than the numbers UC Davis recently publicized as corrections.

“For example, the original Clery Act reports showed 69 forcible sex offenses at UC Davis in 2007. In correcting the figures earlier this month, the university pegged the actual number at 33. But progress reports on the violence prevention grant UC Davis filed to the Department of Justice in 2007 indicate 43 sexual assaults occurred.

“Similar discrepancies existed in reports from 2006 and 2005, according to The Bee’s review of more than 1,000 pages of grant documents.”

The 2007 grant was to bring CALCASA together with POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training), which trains law enforcement officers and agencies.

According to the 2007 release from UC Davis, “The project will collaborate with two major organizations. The California Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CALCASA), which represents more than two-thirds of the state’s 90 rape crisis centers, will bridge the project with rape crisis centers in communities surrounding campuses. The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training will help develop and deliver specialized training for law enforcement agencies on campuses.”

“Sandy Ortman, director of special programs for CALCASA, said UC Davis and its violence prevention program are well positioned to lead the project because the campus program is well recognized and respected nationally. ‘UC Davis has the experience, the commitment to the issues — and a chancellor who understands the issues,’ Ortman said.”

It continued, “Ortman commended the UC system  for working to reduce the number of incidents against women and to encourage more to be reported — something that people can misread.”

“Increased reporting of incidents against women can actually be a good thing,” she said. “What it means is that you provide helpful, caring and appropriate services so women come forward. It speaks to the level of service being provided.”

Finally, it concluded, “In fact, reported incidences of violence against women at UC Davis have risen. The total number of sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible) reported at UC Davis increased from 33 in 2004 to 68 in 2006, according to the latest statistics prepared in compliance with the Clery Act.”

“Beeman and others attribute those higher reporting numbers to effective outreach programs and services that make it as comfortable as possible for victims to come forward.”

We now suspect otherwise.

The local rape crisis center at UC Davis is the Yolo County Sexual Assault Center, which happens to work closely with the DA’s office and the Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Iinterview Center.  The MDIC is sponsored in part by a grant under the DA’s budget.

“The Yolo County’s MDIC (Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center) is a collaborative of community agencies committed to protecting our children. It is through this partnership that Yolo County is able to deliver the best service to our community despite limited public resources. Our partners include: Yolo County District Attorney, Davis Police Department, UC Davis Police Department, Winters Police Department, Woodland Police Department, Yolo County Sheriff Department and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.”

All of these organizations are interrelated and work together.  The DA’s sexual assault unit, which is heavily grant-funded, works very closely with victim advocates for the District Attorney’s office and from the Yolo County Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.  Additionally, the unit works in partnership with the Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center.

As stated, there does not appear to be a direct relationship between Ms. Beeman and the Yolo County District Attorney’s office, but there is enough here to give one pause.

On the other hand, the DA’s office was willing to give Ms. Claudean Medlock a light charge, as well, until they were hit with uproar from CASA and others in the community who believed the plea agreement and penalty were too light.

The DA cites specifically that Ms. Beeman had no previous criminal offenses.  That may be true.  However,  the falsification of the Clery Act occurred over a three-year period, 2005, 2006 and 2007.  Moreover, her embezzlement also occurred over a period of years.

How is that different than the burglar who breaks into separate people’s homes and gets caught each time?  The only difference here is that she was able to escape detection for several years.

Unfortunately, the law appears to be set up to get the common criminal, while the white collar crook, who probably ends up stealing far more than the common burglar, escapes prison time.

In the meantime, Yolo County has put people in prison for far less.  An individual stealing a few hundred dollars gets 9 years, an individual who bounced $215 in checks gets 8, and an individual who steals a $3.99 package of shredded cheese gets 7.  Meanwhile, Ms. Beeman will likely get probation for stealing $10,000 and falsifying forcible sex offense reports.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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7 Comments

  1. E Roberts Musser

    [quote]Unfortunately, the law appears to be set up to get the common criminal, while the white collar crook, who probably ends up stealing far more than the common burglar, escapes prison time.

    In the meantime, Yolo County has put people in prison for far less. An individual stealing a few hundred dollars gets 9 years, an individual who bounced $215 in checks gets 8, and an individual who steals a $3.99 package of shredded cheese gets 7. Meanwhile, Ms. Beeman will likely get probation for stealing $10,000 and falsifying forcible sex offense reports.[/quote]

    I’m in agreement w you here. A criminal is a criminal is a criminal. Stealing $10,000 “with a white collar on” is stealing $10,000. The “color of the collar” shouldn’t matter. The only saving grace this defendant has is she is a first time offender, but as you point out, she just didn’t happen to get caught. She also had a special fiduciary duty bc of grant money being involved. I would have given her a bit of jail time…

    However, I see a bit of inconsistency here – the Vanguard has been calling for less sentencing, not more. Just curious, what would you have given this defendant as a sentence?

  2. David M. Greenwald

    I don’t personally always favor less sentencing, I favor what in my view is an appropriate sentence. To me, she was not a first time offender, she did the same thing three years in a row. So I would have favored a lower or middle based prison term. Seems like at least a 16 month prison sentence would have been appropriate here. Something closer to what Medlock ultimately got, although I thought she got off a bit light as well. In this case, I’m arguing for consistency. In a lot of other cases, the problem appears that the punishment is disproportionate to the crime. You have a lot of people basically committing petty theft but they are trumping the charges to felonies and more when they are stealing sometimes a few hundred, sometimes less than that.

  3. medwoman

    I agree with David on the issue of consistency, but do not feel that prison is the appropriate punishment. I would favor restitution,maybe with punitive damages as well, and community service for crimes involving money with no potential for violence.

  4. jimt

    Let’s see, if I can caught embezzling money; I might actually have to pay it back, and in addition even get a slap on the wrist (probation)? Dear me, how cruel and unfair that I don’t at least get to keep some fraction of what I embezzled.

    What is going on with this light sentence? I agree with DMG that 16 month stint in County Jail is appropriate; and in addition community service, and in addition a fine of $20,000 (twice the amount embezzled).
    The only real punishment here is her conviction record; unlikely she’ll ever get employed in a position where she has authorization to move funds around.

  5. medwoman

    I want to be clear. I do not object to imprisonment as being too harsh on the offender. I object to it as being to harsh on the rest of us whose taxes go to housing and providing medical care for these individuals when that money could be going to other needed and more productive services.

  6. Alphonso

    She is paying for stealing money and lying to get undeserved grant money.
    However, she is not paying for spending 16 years lying about the behavior male students at UCD. Over those years she claimed male students at UCD were more sexually violent than they really were. Accordingly, both the police and the DA’s office set up special programs to deal with the offenders – actually make believe offenders. The statistics also created a climate making it easier for females to falsely accuse males of violent sexual acts. I do not know if the lies actually impacted the lives of any male students, but I bet they did.

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