DSU Info Security Prof Convicted of Nonconsensual Sexual Contact with Exchange Student in Home

Last month, Dallas Rulon Wilkinson was arrested for taking pictures up unsuspecting women’s skirts in public with a camera hidden on his shoe. Wilkinson immediately resigned from teaching and coaching at Sioux Falls Roosevelt High School before facing likely termination.

Last May, William Carl Figg was convicted and sentenced for non-consensual sexual contact with an exchange student staying in his home. As of this writing, Dr. Figg remains on the information security faculty and scheduled to teach next week at Dakota State University, teaching two courses (with on-campus and online sections) and advising doctoral dissertations and drawing his annual salary of $114,696.84 (search his name on the OpenSD.gov salary database to see for yourself).

Fall 2015 course assignments for Professor William Carl Figg, Dakota State University.
Fall 2015 course assignments for Professor William Carl Figg, Dakota State University.

Figg committed the act in question in his home during Thanksgiving last November. Lake County State’s Attorney Chris Giles filed one charge against Figg on April 16, 2015.

Charge against William C. Figg, 2015.04.16
Charge against William C. Figg, 2015.04.16

Figg and his wife have hosted exchange students in their rural home near Rutland in past years. The exchange-student organization through which Figg obtained his victim checked with past exchange students and uncovered an allegation from another student who had stayed with Figg. The sentencing hearing transcript from May 21, 2015, does not say what that past student alleged.

Figg pled no contest but asked Magistrate Judge Carmen Means to cut him slack and grant suspended imposition of sentence, because he’s a veteran and came to court with a clean record. Judge Means denied that request:

Given the nature of the offense here, I am going to deny the request for a suspended imposition of sentence. My concern is both in lack of taking responsibility, even though there is a conviction here as a result of the plea, the nature of the no contest plea concerns me in terms of taking responsibility for what happened. Additionally, I—I just think that this needs to be on his record for a future reference [Magistrate Judge Carmen Means, sentencing hearing for William Carl Figg, Madison, South Dakota, 2015.05.21].

Judge Means gave Figg a $500 fine and 180 days in jail. She suspended jail time on condition that Figg pay the fine and not break any other laws for one year.

South Dakota law treats Figg’s sexual touching and Wilkinson’s invasion of privacy as equally severe crimes. Wilkinson violated SDCL 22-21-4, which prohibits “Use or dissemination of visual recording or photographic device without consent and with intent to self-gratify, harass, or embarrass.” Figg violated SDCL 22-22-7.4, which prohibits “Sexual contact without consent with person capable of consenting.” Both crimes are Class 1 misdemeanors. Neither crime lands Wilkinson or Figg on South Dakota’s sex offender registry.

The South Dakota Professional Code of Ethics for Teachers, which every K-12 teacher swears to follow, says teachers shall “engage in no act that results in a conviction” and not engage in “moral turpitude.” When Wilkinson broke those rules, he gave the Sioux Falls School Board legal ground to fire him immediately.

South Dakota Board of Regents Policy 4-14, on Faulty Discipline and Disciplinary Procedures, includes “conviction of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude” as an example of “unacceptable conduct” that can draw discipline. Section 15 of the current Regental–faculty agreement lays out the process for subjecting faculty to discipline. No information is available as to what steps, if any, the new Dakota State Uniersity administration has taken to evaluate the bearing Dr. Figg’s conviction should have on the university’s assessment of his fitness to teach, research, and handle big federal grants for research on information security.


10 Responses to DSU Info Security Prof Convicted of Nonconsensual Sexual Contact with Exchange Student in Home

  1. Deb Geelsdottir

    I wonder how many other exchange students Fogg assaulted? Sleeze ball.

  2. When do the new teacher swearings-in take place, Mr. H? Is it each year when they are given the continued contract or when they sign up with a school district?

    Is it a public ceremony like the legislatures have?

  3. This horrifies me. As a parent I assume that all sexual deviancy that breaks any law automatically terminates your employment within education systems. I would be out picketing the school if my child attended there. How is he still teaching????

  4. No such public fun, Grudz. It’s buried in the paperwork. But as Annette Bosworth demonstrates, a written oath is as valid as an oath spoken with one’s hand in the air.

    Clarity, I didn’t want to go too far along the parent angle, simply because we have the difference here of Wilkinson teaching minors while Figg teaches adult students (and usually, if not exclusively, graduate students, as seen in his fall schedule). But the exchange student–host relationship and the student–professor relationship vary in degree, not kind. His willingness to abuse his power in one hierarchical relationship raises questions about his willingness to abuse his power in other such relationships.

  5. mike from iowa

    Higher learning curve?

  6. Ick. One possible reason Figg is still on the DSU faculty is working its way through the collective bargaining process (tenure), which takes time. Due process, but the fact that he was convicted already in court shows that one form of due process has taken place. Thank you for bringing this to light, allows students to make a choice whether or not they want to take classes or be mentored by Dr. Figg. Personally, I was never a fan of Fig(g) Newton’s in first place.

  7. happy camper

    Why would someone take such risks, knowing it’s wrong and that it’s likely to so severely damage themselves and everyone around them?

    I remember reading that 95% of the people who are abusers were once abused, but only 5% of those abused go on to be abusers themselves. That would mean there is a lot of abuse or it would die out if it’s both correlation and causation. So what’s causing it in that 5%?

    If you are married let’s say and feel tempted to have an affair, that is entirely a choice, isn’t it? So is it entirely a choice for these formerly abused kids to have inappropriate relations? Or are much deeper compulsions and lack of boundaries at work that most of us can’t understand? As a result of their abuse or would they have been that way anyway?

    I’m definitely not saying abusers are all the same, but I just read the article below on Jared Fogle. It presents him as though he didn’t think there was anything all that wrong with it, and he wasn’t hiding his attraction to younger people.

    Society has got to figure it out cause the destroyed lives has to stop. Do the social scientists understand it? I have yet for a social worker to explain the dynamics other than to say they aren’t going to change.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jared-fogle-asked-reporter-put-141351226.html

  8. Roger Elgersma

    The school did suspend his teaching. And the court was right in not just letting it slide because he is a vet. We have way to much rape in the military and now a vet thinks he learned that being in the military makes rape ok? Ridiculous. I have attended four colleges and universities and do believe that they cover up rape a lot just because of that parent effect. Who would send their kids there if they knew what all happens there. Some say that kids lose their faith in college because of liberal professors, not, I think it is because of to much injustice for rape.

  9. Why would someone take such risks, Hap? Because sex is just that powerful, and we humans are just that weak.

    Straying from Figg, the link you provide to Jared Fogle’s story indicates that Subway got warning signs about Fogle’s sexual interest in minors from a franchisee in 2008. The reporter had firsthand knowledge of Fogle’s creepiness (is that a sufficiently negative word?) in 2007. It would seem that Subway and that reporter could have shut down Fogle years ago. Should they have blown the whistle earlier? Should that reporter have aired Fogle’s ickiness rather than working with the FBI in the long criminal investigation?

    Roger, that’s an interesting observation about campus rape culture and loss of faith. Sexual abuse of any sort could certainly disrupt one’s faith. However, campus life does not appear to uniquely drive young adults away from religion. Such drift is more frequent among young adults who don’t go to college. That same source says religious activity dips for lots of young adults, college and non-college, then resurges as they get older.

  10. caheidelberger

    An anonymous source sends me this note, which I find fascinating. The source did not provide contact information, so I respond here and ask my source to send any other confirmatory documentation she or he can to back up this story.

    Keep up the good work in sharing this information. People need to be informed and have their rights protected.

    As a further example of the lacking morality of Figg, look to his efforts to have this site removed and taken down. He has been petitioning google to remove this page on grounds that it is false. He engaged my services as a tech expert asking for help with this, and upon being informed that it would require him proving that the information on this page was not factual or that he would require legal representation he not only penalized me with a public negative review, he further refused to compensate me for my time at the amount he had agreed to.

    All facts of this matter should be publicly available information that is readily accessible to anyone interested, to any future students and any future employers.

    In addition to his documented sexual abuse of teenagers he is also manipulative and dishonest.

    I wish to remain anonymous for fear of future retribution from this amoral abuser [unknown, sent 2016.02.12].

    If this statement is true, then I say to Figg that I stand by every word I have written and, in case you didn’t notice, documented. To my unknown source, I say give me a shout through the Contact page and let’s talk some more.