Legal Education

After theft charges, former law school assistant dean accused of sexual conduct with minor

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Edward Rene, who was charged in 2020 with theft involving an alleged scholarship scam while working as an assistant dean of admissions at Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, was recently charged with additional crimes involving allegations that he induced a minor to engage in sexual acts.

The new charges were filed in December 2022, according to the Harris County District Court’s website.

KTRK has the story.

Charging documents allege that the criminal conduct happened in 2018, and the evidence includes photos. A spokesperson from the Harris County district attorney’s office told the ABA Journal that the minor was not connected to Texas Southern University.

In a statement to the Journal, Texas Southern University said Rene was terminated in 2019 following the theft allegations. At that time, the university was not made aware of other illegal conduct, according to the statement.

Dan Cogdell, who is listed as Rene’s defense lawyer, did not immediately respond to a Journal interview request.

Regarding the theft charges, two law students told the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Rene offered them tuition scholarships, and that they received additional funds in excess of the amounts, according to the criminal complaint. Rene allegedly directed them to reimburse the overage amounts in the form of checks, cashier’s checks or money orders made payable to him.

A few years earlier, in 2017, the council of the ABA’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar found that the law school was found to be out of compliance with Standard 301(a) and Standard 309(b), which address academic programs and support, and admissions provisions detailed in Standard 501.

The notice followed an internal school investigation finding that an admissions officer at the Houston-based law school admitted students who were not qualified in exchange for kickbacks. The investigation does not name the admissions officer.

Additionally, Joan Bullock, the law school’s former dean who started the position while Rene was working in the admissions office, sued the university in 2022, alleging that she was terminated by the school, stripped of tenure without cause and denied due process. The lawsuit remains open, according to PACER documents.

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