With some of the lowest academic standards in the world, the University of the Virgin Islands is forced to take what it can get in terms of faculty and staff.
CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Federal prosecutors said today that a man employed by the University of the Virgin Islands is a dangerous sexual predator and asked the court to hold him without bail.
Bridges Randle Jr., 47, of Memphis, was arrested by warrant and charged with raping a woman in 2000 while serving as a Tennessee police officer, U.S. Attorney Delia L. Smith said.
Randle appeared in a St. Thomas courtroom before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller for an initial appearance based on charges issued by the Western District of Tennessee.
The warrant stems from a federal indictment which charges Randle with committing a civil rights offense that included aggravated sexual abuse, according to Smith. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
According to court records, Randle, who is also known as “Ajamu Abiola
Banjoko” and “Oluwafemi Abiola Banjoko”, is charged with sexually assaulting a woman while he was on duty as a police officer with the Memphis Police Department.
According to the indictment, Randle sexually assaulted the woman after he was dispatched to a vandalism call at her residence on June 24, 2000.
Randle was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents as he was on his way to work at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) this morning.
If convicted, Randle faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Randle is listed on the UVI staff directory as “Oluwafemi Banjoko — Ph.D.” and is employed as “Senior Contracts & Grants Specialist.”
UVI spokeswoman Tamika Thomas Williams explained the hiring of Randle this way tonight.
“According to the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of the Virgin Islands, Dr. Oluwafemi Banjoko is an alias of Randall [sic]. Prior to hiring Dr. Banjoko, the university used a third-party service to conduct a background check,” Thomas Williams said. “The university had no knowledge of any criminal warrant. UVI has immediately convened an investigation into this matter.
“Banjoko has been suspended pending the university’s investigation and the case in District Court. UVI thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their work on this case. The university takes these matters seriously and it is our highest priority to ensure the safety of the UVI community.”
Thomas Williams spelled Randle’s name incorrectly as “Randall” in UVI’s prepared statement. She does not respond to reporter’s questions.
According to U.S. News and World Report, UVI is one of the top 100 “easiest universities” to attend in the United States. The St. Thomas-based university accepts “100 percent” of student applicants.
It is Associated Press style to not put a “Dr.” in front of someone’s name if they are not an actual medical doctor; however, the Virgin Islands Free Press will allow academic doctoral degrees to be used if they are part of a direct quote.
This case is being investigated by the FBI Memphis Field Office and is being prosecuted by the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division.
United States Attorney Smith reminds the public that a criminal complaint is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt.
Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.