In the field of education, credible charges of plagiarism and academic dishonesty often prove a career killer.
They are the very allegations lodged in a formal complaint with the University of Houston against former Katy ISD Superintendent Lance Hindt, accused of copying portions of his 2012 Doctoral dissertation at UH from a scholarly work submitted four years earlier at Liberty University.
FOX 26 has learned in a letter from the university that investigators at UH have completed their probe after more than 18 months of review.
Citing student privacy protections, the university would neither confirm sanctions against Hindt nor offer a public exoneration.
Katy community activist Sean Dolan was Hindt's initial accuser and was later joined by others filing complaints.
‘’Lance should have been the first to call you and say, I didn't do anything wrong, this proves it. Here's the proof. Here's the email. Here's the exoneration, but he's not,” said Dolan.
FOX 26 has confirmed that Hindt's dissertation no longer appears on the University of Houston's archival website.
When asked about the removal, a UH spokesman referred FOX 26 to published university guidelines which clearly state dissertations "will only be removed under special circumstances, including copyright violations, plagiarism or falsification of data."
Multiple calls over two days and an e-mail to Hindt's attorney have not yet been returned.
FOX 26 legal analyst Chris Tritico says these recent developments indicate to him that Hindt may well have been stripped of his degree.
“Mr. Hindt could say something if he wanted to try and clear this up and I think the fact that he is not saying anything and remaining silent speaks volumes about the conclusion of this,” said Tritico.
Embroiled in controversy, Hindt resigned from Katy ISD in 2018 and was awarded a $750,000 payout by the board of education.
Accused by Hindt of orchestrating "a smear campaign", Dolan is now challenging the former superintendent to either produce proof he's been cleared of cheating or extend an apology.
“I think it's pretty clear by the fact that he's not doing a victory lap and an exoneration parade. He’s not coming to media clearing his name,” said Dolan.
Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars reviewed both papers and told FOX 26 he's not at all surprised Hindt's dissertation has been pulled down - citing what he called "substantial transgressions" by the former KISD superintendent.
Katy ISD declined to comment.