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University Chief Charged With Making Obscene Calls

From Associated Press

American University President Richard Berendzen was charged Friday with two misdemeanor counts of making indecent telephone calls, Fairfax County police said.

Berendzen was served with a summons by a county police investigator. He was released after agreeing to appear for trial before a judge on June 28, Fairfax County prosecutor Robert Horan said.

Police spokesman Michael Proffitt said an investigation found that obscene calls were made to two women on March 28 and 29. Police had evaluated about a dozen telephone calls, Horan added.

Gerard Treanor, Berendzen’s attorney, was not immediately available for comment.

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Berendzen, 51, of Washington, resigned as the university’s president on April 8, citing “exhaustion.” His resignation takes effect at the end of the school year.

In a statement read by his attorney last month, Berendzen said he was embarrassed by unspecified actions he had taken and apologized for any pain he caused.

Berendzen was a patient for about a month at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. Hospital officials would confirm only that Berendzen was receiving psychiatric care.

Law enforcement sources, who asked not to be identified, have said that the calls were placed to women advertising day-care services and were traced to Berendzen’s private office telephone. The sources said the police have tape recordings of several calls he allegedly made to the women.

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If he is found guilty, the maximum penalty for each count is a $1,000 fine and one year in jail.


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