Solicitor Walt Wilkins is investigating the way Bob Jones University handled sexual abuse reports from students to see if the school broke state law or obstructed justice.
In addition, he hopes anyone who wants to prosecute abuse will contact his office.
His investigation stems from a report issued Thursday by GRACE, a Lynchburg, Va., group that works with churches and other Christian organization on the proper ways to prevent abuse and how to work with victims.
GRACE found that the teachings of the university as well as counseling served to re-victimize students. There were also reports from victims that they were discouraged and in some instances told not to contact law enforcement about what had happened to them.
"If they were convincing individuals not to report crimes that could be considered obstruction of justice," Wilkins said. "We need to see if it rises to that level."
In addition, he said he wants to look into whether South Carolina's mandatory reporting law was violated. The law has been updated many times since it was first passed in the 1970s, but now requires that people in a number of professions such as doctors and teachers report to law enforcement all cases of child abuse that comes to their attention.
Wilkins said he needed to do more research because the law is unclear about whether a mandatory reporter needs to contact law enforcement if they learn from an adult that they were abused as a child. Many of the cases recounted in the GRACE report would fall into that category.
Among those responding to the question in the GRACE survey about whether they were told not to report abuse to police, 17 said they were directed not to, 14 said they were discouraged not to and five said they were encouraged to report.
Another question dealing with whether the victim told BJU officials about abuse found that 101 did and 52 did not.
The cases detailed in the report involve students who had been molested before they came to Bob Jones as well as students who were assaulted by a fellow student or in some cases off campus at a workplace.
Wilkins said he has received one report from someone who talked to the GRACE investigators. It was a woman who was inappropriately touched by a fellow student in the 1990s while she was sleeping. She reported the assault to BJU officials, who in turn talked with the accused. He was expelled and then readmitted a year later, the report says.
The victim said when the man returned he harassed her, came to her home and left notes on her car. He is now a missionary overseas and in 2012 wrote the victim a letter of apology.
He wrote, "I want you, your pastor, my pastor, and those involved from my mission board to know that I am willing to do whatever needs to be done to handle this matter in a Biblical way. I
will cooperate and work with all those who are involved with the issue. I cannot undo what I have done. If God would give me the ability to go back in time and undo the sins I have committed against you I would gladly do that," according to the GRACE report.
Wilkins said his office has contacted the man, but he has not responded. Wilkins said he has asked for more investigation before deciding whether to go ahead with prosecution.
Wilkins said he will meet with the Greenville Police Chief on Monday to determine how to proceed.
And he said he intends to talk with GRACE officials to see if they can offer any assistance.