By Taylor Hoppe
A BenU student was arrested after allegedly attempting to have sex with who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he met on the internet. Detectives from the Carol Stream Police Department were posing as the 13-year-old and made the arrest on Friday, Feb. 17, according to a press release by the DuPage County State’s Attorney Office.
Andrew Franchett, a freshman at BenU, was charged with felony counts of indecent solicitation of a minor, grooming and traveling to meet a minor.
Detectives from the Carol Stream Police Department made contact with Franchett on Feb. 16, according to the press release. During the online conversation between Franchett and the detectives posing as the girl, Franchett allegedly arranged to meet the girl to have sex on Feb. 17. When he arrived at the predetermined location, Franchett was arrested and taken into custody.
“These allegations against Mr. Franchett are very disturbing,” states DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin. “Millions of young people use the internet every day as a source of information, education and amusement. Incidents such as is alleged in this case remind us that as parents it is our responsibility to be engaged in our children’s lives and know with whom they are communicating over the Internet.”
“The University’s position is this is abhorrent,” explained Dr. William Carroll, president of Benedictine University. “It flies in the face of everything we believe and justice needs to be rendered in the civil investigation and in the Benedictine investigation.”
Carroll says there are ongoing investigations about Franchett on both the civil level and through Benedictine. “[On] the civil level, he is accused of violating a significant law. We believe he’s also violated Benedictine rules.”
“[Franchett] is potentially in violation of the University’s Acceptable Use Policy, but that has not yet been determined because it’s still an ongoing investigation,” said Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Mercy Robb. “It is unknown if he was using the University’s network and the University’s equipment.”
These rules may include improper use of IT equipment and as Carroll explains, Franchett also violates, “the whole demeanor of how a Benedictine student is supposed to carry himself. That is not behavior we welcome.”
Franchett was a member of the 2011 men’s soccer team. The Athletic department declined to comment and referred the Candor to Robb.
“Andrew Franchett is a good kid. When we talked or when he talked to the coaches he was always respectful and was a good kid overall. He’s a good teammate and friend,”said Izzy Castro, captain of the men’s soccer team.
Due to FERPA laws, Marco Masini, associate vice president of student life, was unable to comment on whether Franchett was removed from the university.
Carroll explains the University is taking the issue very seriously, but also cautiously.
“We have almost 11,000 students from all over the world…the only thing the University can do is step in and stand up for its values and we’re certainly going to do that. We abhor it like the rest of the community and this person will be dealt with within the fullest extent of our policies and also the law,” Carroll added.