A complaint was filed against me by Sydney Black on December 11, 2018. She was sent to the Richmond Police Department to file charges against me on January 3, 2019. The RPD determined the attempted charge and allegation was “unfounded.” I was never informed of any of this by anyone. I was never notified by VCU of anything relative to any complaint until almost two months later. Although, VCU notified Sydney Black on December 13, 2018 that VCU’s Title IX office – Equity and Access Services – “will conduct an investigation.”
This investigation has gone on for over seven months and I have made no public comments. I adhered to VCU’s stated policy regarding confidentially, yet there have been continued public statements, sharing of confidential documents with the media by Sydney Black, and her representatives, without rebuke or reprimand by VCU.
Jody Shipper, external investigator, determined in the final report relative to the four allegations made by Sydney Black:
Allegation I: The investigator stated that the inconsistencies between what Sydney Black alleged and what she told her mother and roommate weakens her credibility. Black told her mother that Wilder “tried to touch my leg,” there was no mention of an attempted kiss by Black’s mother. Sydney Black’s cousin, who Black allegedly told about the attempted kiss and leg touch after dinner, was not available to be interviewed, Shipper stated. Black’s roommate told the investigator she knew nothing about the situation until “after this investigation started.” Black stated in her December 11, 2018 complaint it was a “swift kiss” however, she told Shipper and the media it was “like maybe not even seven seconds” and “30 seconds.” Sydney Black testified that Wilder wrote her a note and gave the note to her on the day after dinner. Work records established that Black did not work on the day after dinner. Black stated the note from Wilder said, “Don’t tell anybody, keep this between me and you, don’t share this note.” Shipper asked her, “Do you have the note?” Sydney Black stated, “I do not have the note.” When asked what she did with the note; Sydney Black did not answer the question. No follow up question was ever asked about the note, was it destroyed, lost., etc. That would be the most controlling thing in this investigation. What reason could the investigator have for not asking follow-up questions? How could the investigator conclude that Wilder “probably kissed Black?”
The investigator has shown no reason from any evidence produced that there was any more reason to consider what Sydney Black said to be any more credible in Allegation I than what she considered in Allegations II, III, IV, which were dismissed, therefore all should be dismissed.
Allegation II: Jody Shipper stated the evidence, and Sydney Black’s lack of credibility does not support that Wilder engaged in sexual exploitation in order to make Black more vulnerable to his advances.
Allegation III: Jody Shipper stated Sydney Black does not explain why she would agree to meet with Wilder at his home more than an hour away expecting an apology for inappropriate behavior. Moreover, stated Shipper, records show that it was Sydney Black who called Wilder on both March 24 and 25, 2017 which contradicts what Black told the investigator, “Wilder called me, he told me he wanted to set up a brunch so we could have a conversation about everything, and he could apologize.”
Allegation IV: Jody Shipper stated that Sydney Black’s statements are not true, thus impacting her credibility and truthfulness. Work records established that Sydney Black did not work on the day, Friday, June 1, 2017, the day she said she had lunch with Wilder. Sydney Black testified, “Wilder hit me up, he insisted I meet him for lunch at Edo’s Squid.” Black stated, “at lunch Wilder told her there would be no more funding for her position.” The preponderance of the evidence does not support a finding that Wilder told Sydney Black that there would be no funding for her work study part-time position.
It was established by the investigator that Sydney Black used the maximum allowable amount of her financial aid and work study funds. Sydney Black continued to call Wilder, his assistant and emailed them.
Black emailed on August 7, 2017, 6:31am:
Subject: Meeting with Governor Wilder
I was wondering if I could set up a meeting with Governor Wilder about my work study position. Please let me know what day Governor Wilder will be available to have a meeting with me.
Black emailed on August 11, 2017, 8:34am:
I was just wondering if you received my email a few days ago. I’ve tried calling the office, but I can never catch you guys. Please get back to me as soon as possible.
Black emailed on August 21, 2017, 4:46pm
Hello Governor Wilder,
I would like to meet with you to discuss my employment options at the Wilder School since I was not granted federal work study for the Fall semester, please email back and let me know!
I have stated that the allegations were proven to be untrue and that the “truth will out.” I do not accept responsibility for any non-consensual sexual contact and have filed a “contesting statement” outlining the violations, bias and inherent flaws in the investigation. The entirety of my contesting statement will be available on Wilder Visions (www.wildervisions.com).